Environmental and other groups that run political
campaigns like The Wilderness Society could lose their
tax-deductible status. Queensland Liberal Senator Brett Mason
raised the issue in the Joint Party Room meeting yesterday.

A Government spokesman said Environment
Minister Ian Campbell replied that he took the issue “seriously” and was
“working on it.”

The Agereports today:

A
spokesman for Senator Campbell yesterday confirmed that the Government was investigating
whether the changes could be made in relation to the Wilderness Society, which
is one of 700,000 non-government organisations across Australia that get tax-deductibility status. The
spokesman said Senator Campbell was “determined to ensure that donations
to environmental groups are used for on-the-ground environmental
purposes”.

A number of Government MPs – including
former special minister of state Eric Abetz, then responsible for electoral
matters – have pushed for such a change.

And eyebrows have been raised as to why Peter
Costello didn’t handle the matter yesterday. Tax deductibility is a matter for
the Treasurer, after all. One Costello ally justified Campbell tackling
the issue by saying “He’s got views on it”.

And Crikey also hears that the Treasurer
was a little dismissive in the party room yesterday.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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