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Is GetUp ready to face the challenges of the new Coalition government? More importantly, is its model even working? Readers had a few thoughts to share about the current battle ahead now that the Coalition — which has always gunned for the activist group — has been returned to power. Meanwhile, attempts to answer the open question of Clive Palmer’s election impact continued. 

On the future GetUp

Wayne Cusick writes: If GetUp is listed as an associated entity, wouldn’t the BCA, AIG, MCA etc also have to be considered associated entities? And would News Corps also qualify?

John Price writes: I’ve been an active volunteer for some time, and have come to think GetUp provides, at least in principle, the best means for citizens to become organised in our country. However, I’ve been concerned that GetUp’s potential for advocacy hasn’t been employed well enough. I’m specially wary that the focus on defeating “hard right” members is misguided in two ways — first, those people ought to be understood as symptomatic of a set of conditions in our society, rather than as primary obstructions to a progressive agenda; second, the rhetoric and the strategy perpetuates a “politics as war” principle which is deeply corrosive.

I would like to see GetUp leaders begin the hard work of figuring out what “progressive” politics in this era should be like. You might say a non-aligned citizens’ movement is in a good position to do this — better than the major parties. It would entail re-imagining democratic faith and institutions for a digital age. It would mean thinking hard about all the ways our system of representation can be made functional. 

It is tempting to spend the enthusiasm and energy of members on “policies” or slogans or beating up bad guys, but none of that is very wise unless we have a much deeper confidence in our understanding of exactly what the real contemporary problems are. It’s by no means easy to turn an organisation that began as an online protest into a large body of citizen activists. GetUp deserves credit for making the attempt. But there’s a way to go.

On Clive Palmer’s impact

Gregory Bailey writes: If we can believe the media, Palmer’s investment has paid off. If the Adani mine is given the go-ahead then the Galilee Basin will be open slather and Palmer and Rinehart, who allegedly have coal tenements there, will see their investments dramatically increase in value. Virtually no new jobs will be created given the automatisation of coal mining, and the Barrier Reef may be destroyed, not to mention the quality of the water in the area.

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