A piece by Brad Norington in Murdoch’s pretend newspaper The Australian demonstrates how this malevolent media enterprise and its employees operate. This piece was headed “GetUp had been found to be linked to Labor and the Greens”1. Norington has been the subject of another essay here, in which he with Andrew Clennell attempted to paint Dr Kerryn Phelps as a government destroying independent2. Norington’s piece starts off with “GetUp was found ‘prima facie’ to be an associated entity of Labor or the Greens by the Australian Electoral Commission [AEC], in a detailed investigation of the activist group’s campaigning activity during the 2016 federal election”1. The second paragraph noted that the preliminary finding was reversed after the AEC sought further submissions from GetUp and obtained legal advice. If the person who wrote the headline for this article had been honest, they would have worded it differently; maybe: ‘GetUp not found to be linked to any political party’. However, honesty and The Australian are not commonly associated.
As GetUp national director, Paul Oosting said, it was the third time the AEC had ruled in the organisation’s favour, despite accusations by “hard-right politicians”. He stated “The hard right forced this expensive two-year investigation on the GetUp movement, in the hope it would silence all one million of us. But it has done exactly the opposite…. You don’t make our democracy stronger by penalising a grassroots organisation for talking to voters.”3
The reason the ‘hard right’ were foaming at the mouth was because of the extraordinarily successful GetUp campaign in Tasmania to unseat three Tasmanian far right Liberal Party politicians referred to as the ‘Three Amigos’: Andrew Nikolic, Eric Hutchinson and Brett Whiteley. As Oosting said, they particularly focussed on Nikolic’s seat, as he “was one of the leaders in the hard right faction of the Coalition nationally, who have led the charge against things like the proper funding of our schools and our hospitals” and have attacked renewable energy4.
The Liberal Party has moved farther to the right in recent years and the moderates are leaving the party in droves5. In addition, it is leading to a rise in conservative independents running against hard right members of the Liberal Party6. The irony is, Getup’s targeting of hard right Liberals may lead to the survival of the Liberal Party as an electable entity. Therefore, this targeting of GetUp by the Liberal Party is akin to them holding a gun to their own head and screaming: ‘Stop or I’ll shoot!’ You have to laugh.