GetUp discloses $106k in foreign donations

Almost half of sizeable donations gifted to activist group GetUp in the past year came from overseas.

Activist group GetUp has disclosed more than $100,000 in foreign donations in the past financial year.

GetUp received a $42,961 donation from German sister organisation Campact for a Great Barrier Reef campaign, and another $63,693 from Oak Philanthropy, which is based in Switzerland.

The donations are laid out in Australian Electoral Commission disclosure returns for 2016-17 released on Thursday.

All up, GetUp received $217,418 in gifts worth more than $13,200 and used on political expenditure over the year.

Sydney-based property developer Karen Loblay gifted the group $53,000 while cosmetics company Lush gave $37,404 and the family of Australian activist Norman Rothfield handed over $20,360.

Not included in Thursday's disclosures, but previously published elsewhere, are two separate payments from Campact of about 41,000 euros in 2015 and 2016.

GetUp received the money as "funds held on trust" in membership fees for the Online Progressive Engagement Network (OPEN) in Australia.

GetUp says it does not have any rights to funds held on trust, and OPEN has never donated to them, run or financially backed its campaigns in Australia.

"(Funds held on trust) are generally used to save on bank transaction fees and foreign exchange fluctuations, or to shift the burden of administering those funds," a GetUp spokeswoman said.

"At no time has GetUp benefited from or directed those funds."

As part of a crackdown on foreign political donations, the federal government wants individuals who give $250 or more annually to not-for-profit groups to declare they are an "allowable donor".

GetUp national director Paul Oosting told a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday the administrative burden would "simply wipe out" its revenue streams.

2 min read
Published 1 February 2018 at 1:08pm
Source: AAP