Scott Morrison has again questioned left-leaning activist group GetUp’s political independence and says he could call for another inquiry into the matter.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hinted at launching a fresh bid for an inquiry into GetUp’s political independence, calling for the group to be “straight up” with voters.
Members of the coalition have long accused GetUp of being an arm of the Labor Party and The Greens, arguing the left-leaning activist group should be subjected to greater scrutiny under electoral funding and disclosure laws.
In February, the Australian Electoral Commission declared GetUp was not affiliated with any political party, saying the group’s campaigns were mostly issue-based, rather than linked to a particular political force.
But Mr Morrison remains unconvinced.
“GetUp is no longer a wolf in sheep’s clothing. GetUp is a wolf in wolf’s clothing”, he told reporters in Adelaide on Saturday.
“If they want to be in the political space - fine, [but] call yourself a political party,” he said.
“You're against the Liberal Party we get that, that's okay. There's no problem with that. Just don't pretend you're independent.”
GetUp reportedly spent around $4 million on targeted campaigns to try and remove several coalition members at the May election.
They largely failed, but analysts say former prime minister Tony Abbott’s defeat in the seat of Warringah was partly due to GetUp’s well-mobilised operations.
Boothby MP Nicole Flint found herself in GetUp's political crosshairs but prevailed in the dogged political fight.
Ms Flint told The Australian last month GetUp had helped create an environment where “abuse… became the new normal.”
Mr Morrison said GetUp’s recent conduct has been “disgraceful” and the group’s treatment of Ms Flint equated to “misogyny and bullying”.
GetUp National Director Paul Oosting has hit back, labeling Mr Morrison’s comments “undemocratic” and arguing the PM's remarks contained “factual errors”.
“Afraid of being challenged or held to account on having no policy on climate change and the lack of support for raising Newstart he is trying to shut down democratic participation, slurring the name of everyday people participating in our politics,” Mr Oosting said.
“Politics belongs to everyone.”
GetUp Campaign Director Miriam Lyons said a new investigation would be a waste of public money.
“The AEC has investigated GetUp exhaustively, not one, but three times - and three times they have found that we are an independent, issues-based organisation. Mr Morrison clearly doesn’t like that answer, so he’s asking the same question again,” Ms Lyons said.
“He would clearly like to set up a kangaroo court, where he gets to decide whether we’re ‘guilty’ or not.”