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,, 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?

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.