Australia’s eight most active environmental groups with tax-exempt charity status pulled in $83 million last year and received almost three quarters of a billion dollars in the past decade.
The $83m in combined income for 2015 is significantly more than the nearly $60.5m in taxpayer funding handed to Australia’s political parties and candidates after the last election.
The eight environmental groups analysed by The Australian — Greenpeace Australia Pacific, WWF Australia, Friends of the Earth (Australia), the Sunrise Project, the Lock the Gate Alliance, 350.org Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Wilderness Society — together have raked in income of $685m over the past decade.
All the groups are registered charities and eligible to receive tax-deductible donations.
Protest against Adani’s Carmichael Coal mine in Queensland
The money is used for politics:
The use of tax-exempt charity status to fund environmental challenges to developments through the courts and public campaigns has become a major concern within the government, the Australian Taxation Office as well as in the US. Environmental groups and US-based billion-dollar foundations have used charity status to help fund their actions, funnelling funds to groups without tax exemptions and hiding donors.
The Turnbull government is reviving proposals to crack down on environmental groups using their charity status as a screen following revelations that Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta received briefings about the campaign waged by the Sunrise Project against the $16 billion Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin….
Mr Abbott yesterday warned there was “obviously a very well-connected global network conspiring against the Australian coal industry and thereby damaging Australian workers and global consumers who just want affordable, available energy. People need to wake up to the fact that our polity is being manipulated and that the Greens are not always what they seem.”
Pursuing green politics is a big, tax-exempt business. Does it exceed the more established religions yet?