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GetUp! vs the IPA: The sequel?

By Kyran O’Dwyer

It’s hard to know if this belongs in the category of ‘satire’ or ‘news’. Does modern Australian politics require a new category? ‘Surreal’? Or, perhaps, ‘Seriously, WTF’?

Back in October, the piece ‘GetUp! vs the IPA’ was written to underscore several matters. Government (and ministerial) incompetence, the politicisation of government agencies, the inequity of an electoral system that favours political parties to the detriment of those they are meant to represent, the ensuing voter distrust, the absence of any meaningful transparency and oversight, or possibility of redress.

Most of all, the need for change. Basic. Fundamental. Change.

At the time, the narrative evolved like this:

Abetz accused GetUp! of being an ‘Associated Entity’ of the ALP and demanded the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) investigate.

In an ‘allegedly’ unrelated matter, the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC), on instruction from Cash’s office, opened an investigation to get ten-year-old records about a payment to GetUp! by the Australian Workers Union (AWU), ostensibly to prove the payment was not properly authorised. Not that the payment was illegal, just that the decision wasn’t made legitimately or was incorrectly minuted. The ROC enlisted the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to conduct raids on the offices of the AWU to retrieve documents that were not required to be kept.

Presumably Cash, an ‘alleged’ lawyer, would know that, even if the search yielded evidence, any charges would be statute barred, ie out of time. If there was no prospect of a trial in a Court, she would be little more than a vexatious litigant, wouldn’t she?

“Vexatious litigation is legal action which is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary. It may take the form of a primary frivolous lawsuit or may be the repetitive, burdensome, and unwarranted filing of meritless motions in a matter which is otherwise a meritorious cause of action.”

With the benefit of hindsight, it seems obvious there was never any intention of bringing this to Court. Other than the court of public opinion, where the rules of evidence are dictated by MSM. Guilt by association, supported only by slur and innuendo, yelled from the rafters. Yadayadayada.

Apologies for the digression, back to the narrative.

Cash’s office tipped off the media about the raids. Cash then ‘allegedly’ misled Parliament.

‘Allegedly’, and ‘allegedly’ repeatedly. It’s a great word, allegedly.

The bloke standing beside her for most of the day, her senior advisor, ‘allegedly’ didn’t tell her what he had done. ‘Allegedly’ until a copious amount of excrement hit an oscillating device.

Cash then asked the AFP to investigate itself, the ROC, the FWO, her, and her department. ‘Allegedly’ in the pursuit of justice. Since then, Cash has refused to answer questions for fear of prejudicing the enquiry she started and, presumably, has already provided answers to.

Does that seem about right to you? Please feel free to offer corrections or make additions.

The sequel? It seems to go like this.

The mindblowing incompetence of the government, generally, is unchanged.

The incomparably incompetent Abetz found a new campaign. (We’ll get back to his AEC one a bit later). He turns 60 on Jan 25 and becomes, perhaps, the most compelling argument yet for reducing the retirement age to 50. His pursuit of the irrelevant has continued unabated. From Buzzfeed;

It is not Christmas time unless there is some battle waged in the War on Christmas, and this year, Abetz has tasked himself with discovering whether government departments are or are not saying happy Christmas or happy Ramadan in their annual emails.

In questions on notice filed in October, Abetz asked 85 difference government agencies the following:

“Please provide the messages (if any) sent to staff (on the most recent occasions) of Christmas/New Year, Easter and Ramadan by the Secretary of the Department or Agency Heads at the relevant time.”

As for the politicisation of government agencies, that farce continues unabated. Where is it up to? Thanks to Buzzfeed we now know that Mark Lee (FWO) sent messages to David De Garis (senior advisor to Cash) on the day, and De Garis told the media about the raids. He ‘allegedly’ did not tell Cash, even though he stood beside her when she was ‘allegedly’ grilled by the ‘alleged’ PM about the issue.

Seriously, WTF?

The rest of the article seems to suggest that the AFP, ROC, FWO and Cash’s office seem to be unable to conduct the most rudimentary of enquiry. Having welcomed the media attention when raids were being conducted, it seems media attention is no longer welcome.

As for the ‘players’:

Cash was promoted by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, adding jobs and innovation to her list of portfolio responsibilities, and removing the industrial relations portfolio from her brief.

De Garis has taken a job with the Australian Hotels Association, which made a $10mil deal with Cash in August to take 10,000 interns under the government’s PaTH program.

Lee was due to take up a job in Cash’s office but that has not yet happened.

SNAFU. The polite expansion of the acronym is ‘a confused or chaotic state; a mess’.

Well, it sort of went from SNAFU, to TARFUN, to FUBAR. For further explanation, see this.

‘Satire’? ‘News’? ‘Surreal’? Or ‘Seriously, WTF’?

Getting back to Abetz and his AEC enquiry. It has brought forward legislation about associated entities, political donations, all manner of things. Most popularly known as the anti-GetUp! bill.

From recent news though, it seems the original heading, ‘GetUp! vs the IPA’, was, in fact, false, misleading and/or erroneous. Either that or the IPA have just read the article and agree with the premise. In any event, the weirdest of bedfellows has been created. The IPA, the government’s bastion of support, has rallied to the defence of GetUp. Therefore, it should have read ‘GetUp! AND the IPA’.

From The Guardian;

The changes, contained in the electoral funding and disclosure reform bill introduced by the government in December, would mean associated entities face more stringent reporting requirements, including disclosure of donations.

The executive director of the IPA, John Roskam, told Guardian Australia although he believed the IPA would not be affected by associated entities changes, the law may catch many organisations including civil society groups, professional organisations like the Australian Medical Association, the National Farmers Federation and even the churches.

Yeah, right. The IPA won’t be affected, but they are concerned about employer’s unions.

“My concern is it will cast a very wide net at anyone expressing a political opinion,” he said. “It’s potentially very dangerous.”

Roskam also queried why media organisations were exempt from the changes.

“If the concern is expression of political opinion, whether you are a media organisation or not should make no difference – it’s inconsistent,” he said.”

Perhaps the article should have been called “GetUp! and the IPA, Same same, but different”. As for political/foreign donations?

“Roskam warned the foreign donation ban is a “dangerous precedent” that could lead to calls to restricting all political donations in Australia. He labelled it “inconsistent” of the major parties to oppose foreign donations but not domestic ones.

Roskam believes a system of purely publicly-funded elections will benefit the major parties by “entrenching the position of the existing political parties and shutting out dissenting voices, whether from the left or right”.

He said the IPA would not be affected by the foreign donations ban because it did not receive them, with the exception of an international prize it won a few years ago for its work on climate change.”

The government position is, as always, as clear as mud. On the one hand;

The special minister of state, Mathias Cormann, has said that the bill aims “to ensure all organisations involved in relevant political expenditure and activity are subject to the same transparency, disclosure and reporting requirements.

He said the bill “clarified an ambiguity” about the meaning of associated entities operating for the benefit of a political party but said this did not amount to an extension of scope.”

And in the next sentence, the government says it’s only targeting legislation at GetUp!.

“GetUp! is plainly a political campaigning organisation engaged in political activity and incurring political expenditure,” Cormann said, adding it was “entirely appropriate” it be subject to the same disclosure requirements as other political actors.

Now we have the complexity of the mess playing out. Despite his protestations to the contrary, even Roskam can see that, by their hysterical targeting of GetUp!, this pack of fools expose all of their cronies to the same legislation.

As for the prospect of a Cash-less parliament, it looks bleak.

Hadgkiss has finally been replaced by Stephen McBurney. It will, presumably, see the ABCC ramp up its attack on unions while ignoring deaths on worksites, which have increased. Her involvement in the demise of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, the rampant abuse of working visa programs, the work (and die) for the dole scheme, PaTH internships. On and on and on it goes. Just search her name and watch the pages of stuff ups appear. She ignores parliamentary rules and convention, she ignores or frustrates FOI requests, she lies, she’s incompetent. And she’s not exactly on an interns pay and conditions.

What does our alleged PM do with such a disastrous minister? Promote her.

In the two months since the original post, this alleged government has descended from farce to abject stupidity. This alleged government has demonstrated, time and time again, that there is no point trying to reason or argue with them. Facts and evidence have no place in their world.

In deference to more learned writers, it appears the prospect of an election will not occur before September. Until then, we have two alternatives. Sit it out until then or get involved. In addition to GetUp!, there is, unions, community groups, refugee advocacy groups. All manner of associations representing all manner of interests.

The original intent of the article was to underscore several matters, as detailed at the start. The abysmal behaviour of the alleged government in the ensuing months haven’t altered the intent. They have merely added an urgency to the need for change.

Basic. Fundamental. Change.


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  1. Cara Clark

    Weep my beloved country.

  2. Keith

    I love this comment … “He said the IPA would not be affected by the foreign donations ban because it did not receive them, with the exception of an international prize it won a few years ago for its work on climate change.””

    Any prize the IPA received internationally on climate change would not be worth a truck full of the proverbial.

    Hopefully once Parliament resumes Cash will gain the full attention of Opposition Parties.

  3. David1

    I loathe and despise Cash as I do the Satan. A match made in Hell. She is evil personified.

  4. Alpo

    At this point in time we can only look forward to consecutive negative Newspoll n. 30 to see the next buffoonery from this pathetic government of incompetents.

  5. Andreas Bimba

    This man Mathias Cormann appears to be pulling the strings on quite a few issues. I know he was involved in the forced exit of Australia’s automotive industry when Abbott and Hockey were nominally in charge back in early 2014. I suspect Herr Cormann may be secretly working for the fatherland while most of the other clowns are indirectly working for the Inner Kingdom by being obedient sycophants of the resources, banking, property development and gambling sectors.

    This German and Chinese branch of the international corporate/wealthy oligarchy is even more dangerous than the American one?

    Personally I’d prefer to have representative democracy rather than rule by someone else’s or our own oligarchy.

  6. @RosemaryJ36

    I believe Cormann is Belgian.

  7. Roscoe

    I believe Cormann is a wind up dummy

  8. Andreas Bimba

    Her Cormann is an ethnic German from Belgium, who must have learnt English from Arnold Schwarzenegger, or something like that?

  9. Kevin Bennewith

    GetUp is simply a George Soros inspired, and sometimes financed, group of subversive agitators. It is not in the interests of Australia and Australians to have them here, because they are in favour of globalisation, and open borders, which suits the multinational corporations and merchant banks very well.

  10. LOVO

    Kevin, got any links to support what you have alleged in regards to Soros’s financing GetUp! ?

  11. Ricardo29

    Bennewith, your authority for the claims GetUp is in favour of globalisation and open borders? I also see frequen references to Soto’s as a source of funding for this org. My understanding it’s funded by individuals like me.

  12. Kevin Bennewith

    Go and do your own research. Look up who financed MoveOn, who started MovedOn and who started and manage GetUp. Look up the “Open Society” and research George Soros’s activities and how he made his billions. Look at George Soros’s life history, and his links with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Many people are supporting, probably unwittingly, an organisation which is inimical to their real interests.

  13. Terry2

    Nicely put, Kyran,

    Taking Cormann’s statement it can quite easily be adapted depending on your point of view, try this one :

    News Corporation Australia is plainly a political campaigning organisation engaged in political activity and incurring political expenditure,” Cormann said, adding it was “entirely appropriate” it be subject to the same disclosure requirements as other political actors.

  14. LOVO

    Kev, I have done my own research and can find nothing but innuendo and spurious rhetoric. If you have anything in the way of evidence, could you enlighten us.

  15. Kronomex

    I do so enjoy people like Kevin who make unfounded statements and when asked to back up their rumours with evidence so support their viewpoint use the now hoary old, “Go and do your own research.” It’s a sign of a weak argument and should be treated with the derision it deserves. So supply some sort of proof of your claims or peddle your nonsense elsewhere.

  16. Sam

    I always sadly shake my head whenever someone comes in with a different, sometimes controversial point of view and then puts the onus on everyone else to do their own research and get caught up with them.

    That’s not the way it should ever work. We should always do what we can to ensure our point is heard and understood and if we ever have to rely on telling others to do their own research to reach the conclusions we’ve made, then we never had a valid point to begin with.

  17. David Stakes

    Can guarantee between now and any election being called, there will be all sorts of kite flown allegations made, scandals hinted at by the LNP, to make Labor look bad. I hope Bill is ready with his bat.

  18. Jack Russell

    Besides the RampedUp! trash talk about GetUp! … and everything else they think needs a HypedUp! scare campaign … was it really necessary to build a barricade around Parliament House?

  19. Andrew Chambers

    Jack Russell, the barricade is a public safety measure, in lieu of gun ownership we have the consolation that if the shit hits the fan we can lock the gates and simply turn the house into an asylum.

  20. Kaye Lee

    “who started and manage GetUp”

    In 2005: The organisation’s board of directors includes the former federal Liberal Party leader John Hewson, the Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten, the co-founder of the internet search vehicle LookSmart, Evan Thornley, and Kate Faehrmann, the head of the NSW Nature Conservation Council.

  21. Andrew Chambers

    As to the issue of GetUp! They’re an advocacy group, no different to any of the industry or corporate advocacy groups. They’re not interested in systemic change, being quite happy with the status quo where it’s relatively easy to marshal perceptible “forces” to compel or influence favorable change (and gain profile and treasure). That they are a threat to the virtual monopoly on influence of industrial / corporate interests poses more of a problem for the COALition and their command and control structure.

  22. Kevin Bennewith

    Pointless. Anything that I submitted would be dismissed I am not even going to try to convince you, because I know there is no way I could do so.. Obviously you are invested in thinking that GetUp is a good organisation and worthy of your support. I have merely put my own point of view. “”Convince a man against his will, He’s of the same opinion still.” It is up to you to decide whether GetUp is worth your support or not. Good luck to you.

  23. Kaye Lee

    It astonishes me that people quote candobetter as a reference. They published a whole series about the Port Arthur massacre being a conspiracy involving Israeli military among the many different conspiracy theories they promote.

    As for George Soros, I don’t think there is anything secretive or conspiratorial about what he does which is to support progressive, democratic causes. Do you also think the Rothschilds are in on the new world order? Those ideas seem to go hand in hand which has a nasty anti-semitic flavour to it strongly promoted by far right sites who just quote each other.

  24. Matters Not

    I suggest that people follow the links provided by Nero Dog – so as to see how fake news takes hold. Keep following and you might get to MS J Oriel (The Australian) as a source. Soros bad. Murdoch good. That’s the logic.

    You must understand the (supposed) power of Soros and the people he controls (LOL.) There’s John Oliver. (Hilarious). Google too. He can organise riots whenever he wants. He can get people on to the streets. (He pays them to riot.) And did you know he was once a NAZI. Is genetically evil. Doesn’t wash and has bad breath. As for his sexual orientation …

    FFS! He donates to causes he believes in.

  25. Donald Richardson

    I have long believed that any assertion which when questioned elicits the reply ‘Go and do your own research!’ Is valueless!
    Can you imagine the result that statement being made in a Court of Law, or in a thesis hopefully leading to a degree would elicit? The author would be laughed out of court and would be lucky not to be convicted of contempt for the first case, and his academic credentials utterly ruined in the second!
    Such a reply in this forum must rouse the suspicion that a red herring has been tossed into the thread!

  26. Chris

    Good comment Andrew Chambers. That is a realistic view imo.

    “They’re not interested in systemic change, being quite happy with the status quo where it’s relatively easy to marshal perceptible “forces” to compel or influence favorable change”

    It just depends on whether you think this part is a “Grand Conspiracy” or partially the effect of this organisation being part of the global mainstream society (also possibly a conspiracy 😉 ).

    Kevin…..don’t be so stressed about it. If it was or wasn’t Soros hardly matters as it would have been some other rich guy instead…..

  27. Max Gross

    Simple really. The LNP hate you.

  28. Matters Not

    Here’s a confession. I donate to GetUp, the AIMN and others but not the IPA because Soros tells me where my dollars should (or shouldn’t) go! George is like that. And he must be obeyed. When he rings me on my hotline I …

    I only stand up for refugees because George says I must.

  29. GraemeF

    Is the IPA an associated entity of the Liberal party or is the Liberal party an associated entity of the IPA?

  30. Rob

    Michaelya cash a long line of ‘lawyers’ who find themselves, by chance in the LNP, on the public purse. Being inept and thoroughly unpleasant. Take Amanda vanstone,another ‘lawyer’ who had difficulty in continuing her ‘profession’. Conveyancing was about it !! The gary johns show and his anti GetUp campaign will start soon enough. Gary johns is IPA to the core. he cannot be distracted from ‘his mission’ he should be, his job is to again, divide Australians, mate against mate, state against state !!.

    As for benneworth or morris. The LNP are on their summer offensive. Get turnbull on Fm radio, get him on Brekkie central and hit those anti LNP blogs hard eh benneworth. more will be attempting to cause division. belittling, intimidating and provoking, Stating ‘facts’ like free smarties in in a lolly shop. If turnbulls newspolls improve and thats a big IF, watch the LNP jump on the campaign trial then go early to an election Reinforce their policies of ‘control’ By early I mean well before September.

    We are indeed a country at war. divide n conquer Mal turnbull. Am surprised dutton hasn’t gone through the countrys jails and picked out the worst of the worst to run around under the guise of his new super dept and rough up anyone who stands in his way.

    The IPA are a major problem for Australia. They have their greasy fingers in many areas already, the public sector, government policy and legislation development, thus the direction of Australia. Ignoring the IPA is not an option !

  31. Kyran

    Just to clarify something, the purpose of the article was not to advocate for GetUp, anymore than it was to ridicule Cash, Abetz or Turnbull. They are doing that job just fine all on their own.
    They are merely examples of politicians out of their depth and out of control. Just on this site in the past day or so, more than a dozen such examples have been provided. All of which tend to reinforce the need for change, for some accountability, other than their own rather pathetic idea of self-regulation.
    The reference to GetUp was initiated because of the saga and the way in which it has unfolded to date. And the absence of the IPA from any conversation the government initiates about associated entities. Having stated that I don’t intend to advocate for them doesn’t mean that the ‘compare and contrast’ exercise is not valid, or that bullshit is acceptable.

    If you go to the link provided by Terry2, you will note the average GetUp donation is currently tracking at $10. I went to the IPA website
    and couldn’t find any such accounting process. There was a 16 page annual report. If you wish to wade through 14 pages of fluff, you will get to this;
    “At the end of 2017 the IPA had over 4,500 members, including more than 1,000 IPA Young Members. The IPA’s longer-term membership target is to have 10,000 members. Ten years ago the IPA had 500 members.”

    Page 15 details membership and donations in very opaque details. They have $3.83mil in reserves, their income of $6mil is held against expenditure of $5.5mil.
    As 2018 is their 75th anniversary year, expect to hear a whole lot more from them.
    If you go to the GetUp primary site;

    you will note on the right hand side the manner of engagement and frequency. I could find no such feature on the IPA website.
    With regard to Soros, the only reference I could find to him was in the Wiki.!

    Some idiot called Abetz says GetUp is a Soros front. Not one, single, solitary reference otherwise. In the off chance anyone thinks I would take that idiot, Abetz, seriously, read the article again.
    With regard to Ms Lee’s comment about Bill Shorten, he resigned his directorship of GetUp in 2006, at around the same time he renounced his English dual nationality, in preparation for entering parliament. The coincidence of that and Cash’s 2006 fixation should be obvious to anyone. As I don’t know Shorten, it’s only fair to let someone who does know him to attest to his character.

    “Shorten was educated at the Jesuit Catholic school, Xavier College, in Melbourne, where he met John Roskam. Roskam chose his old mate to be the best man at his wedding.”
    “JOHN ROSKAM: I think there are many parallels between Bill Shorten and Bob Hawke, one is an ability to communicate, another is a deep understanding of the Australian people.”

    The purpose of the article was to advocate for change. Basic. Fundamental. Change.
    That intent hasn’t changed. As a starting point, we need to make so much noise about a Federal ICAC that no political party can ignore its inevitability. There was a Federal Senate Select Committee relating to the establishment of a National Integrity Commission in 2016, but it was dispensed with due to the DD election. It was reconvened when parliament got going again.

    And even made some recommendations.

    One of GetUp’s campaigns relates to just that. If that doesn’t float your boat, try one of these.

    Homepage – Main page – /home

    AUWU Home

    Or find your own.
    Thank you AIMN for the opportunity, and commenters for the discussion. Take care

  32. Steve Laing

    Great article Kyran, and great response.

  33. Florence nee Fedup

    I am sure Shorten will continue to lob all back to the government, as he has done successfully for over 2 decades. Shorten is a cautious man, who takes the time to cross all Ts & dot all Is.

    Thankfully unlike Turnbull, he doesn’t need to be loved or take selfies at every opportunity, Same as Abbott hogged the camera for years.

    He is more of a doer than a talker. NDIS among other things is one of his babies. He, along with Gillard worked hard behind the scenes. So successfully, being one of the things this govt hasn’t been able to openly dismantled.

    Have you noticed, Shorten unlike Turnbull has felt comfortable taking decent holiday leave. This allows him to be fresh for the coming battle this year,

  34. crypt0

    It’s GetUp for me, and Kev can do whatever he pleases.
    It’s of no account to me.

  35. David1

    Well said Florence, Bill is a 100 times the man and the politician Teflon Turnbull is

  36. Rob

    Yes points taken Kyran.

    Recommendation 6

    4.156 The committee recommends that the Senate and the House of Representatives diligently use their Privileges Committees where it is alleged that a senator or member has acted improperly and contrary to parliamentary privilege

    Various LNP Senators have been failing the above point for some time. Been given amle opportunity to fill in the gaps and spell out their involvement in contentious issues since their elevation to the Cabinet. Some seem tobe tflon coated, eventually teflon coating wears off. For some 2018 is such their time.

  37. Rob

    Mathew Guy, aka Mr skyscraper, from his time as State LNP Planning Minister should be well aware of his own issues with developers and the granting of various buildings not always signed off on to the benefit of all victorians , again just an elite few. MR skyscraper can be found arguing his cases most strongly. hsitory will show he didn’t always get it right, if ever !

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