The latest round of the battle between those two cults that are always talking about the end of the world – the Greens and the Exclusive Brethren – was fought out on SBS TV’s Dateline program last night.

Once again, the focus was on how the Brethren are bending electoral laws with their political activities – but they’re not the only people using loopholes.

The Sunday Herald Sun last weekend touched on one of our favourite topics – the abuse of charity status by green groups for party political purposes.

There’s no doubt that the Brethren – or key Brethren figures – are hoping to hide in gray areas to conduct political activities. Just like the Wilderness Society, it appears. The Sunday Herald Sun reports:

The Wilderness Society, set up as a charitable institution and endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office to receive tax-deductible donations, is running a campaign urging Victorians to “Vote 1 Environment”.

The society… pointedly backs the Greens, despite claiming to be apolitical…

While the society claims not to be politically aligned, it has set up a website, www.voteenvironment.org.au, featuring the logo “Vote 1 Environment” on a green background next to a tree.

The site gives three ticks to the Greens — highlighting its policy to protect old-growth forests and water catchments — while running question marks against the Liberals and Labor and a cross against the Nationals.

The society this week also launched an advertising campaign on the issue on WIN TV…

Double standards all round.

 


 

Bob Brown’s media adviser, Ebony Bennett, writes: What exactly is odd about the Wilderness Society, an organisation dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the environment, campaigning for people to “vote 1 Environment” with a green background next to a tree? Would you prefer they run a campaign on the government’s economic credentials, Christian? Or is it OK to campaign for the environment as long as the logo and colour-scheme are irrelevant to the message? The Exclusive Brethren, a secretive, fundamentalist Christian sect which forbids its members from voting because it believes government is chosen by God, has also used a green background and trees in brochures, except in their case it was to mislead the electorate about Greens policies. I can’t believe I have to point this out, but… a green colour scheme (including trees) does not necessarily indicate a campaign to get the Greens elected. And as for the three ticks for the Greens policies to protect old-growth forests and water catchments – I can’t see a problem. The Greens clearly have the best policies when it comes to the environment. When Labor, the Liberals and the Nationals have policies to end the logging of old-growth forests and to end logging in water catchment areas – I’m sure the Wilderness Society will give them a big tick too. Let’s compare apples with apples.

Christian Kerr writes: Shock horror. Spin doctor does what they’re paid from public money to do. I’m not seriously supposed to respond, am I?

Peter Fray

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