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Turnbull’s witch-hunt against civil society threatens our democracy

Media Release
Larissa Waters 15 Nov 2016

The Australian Greens today warned that the Turnbull government’s proposed legislative witch-hunt against environment groups which has now reportedly expanded to include health, ethnic and housing, other not for profit groups is a threat to our democracy.

Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson on the environment said:

“Stripping environment and civil society groups of charity status for raising legitimate criticism is a dangerous attempt to silence dissent and a threat to democracy.

“By pretending that the only real environmentalism is planting trees or cleaning up litter, the government allows its big polluter mates to continue their destruction unchallenged.

“Local, on-the-ground efforts are vital, but we cannot simply ignore systemic issues. The environment movement's job is not just to clean up after destruction — it's to help the community raise its voice to stop destruction in the first place.

“Without voices for the environment in the courts and without legitimate peaceful protest, we would have sand mining on Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef would be pocked with oil rigs.

“This is yet another example of a glass-jawed government who have gagged civil society NGOs under new funding agreements, attacked the ABC and the President of the Human Rights Commission GillianTriggs for daring to point out inconvenient truths

“This government has defunded Environmental Defenders Offices, slashed grant funding for community environment groups, and tried to take away appeal rights for when Ministers break our national environment law.

“By attempting to shut these voices out, the Turnbull government is showing cavalier disregard for the concerns of the community,” Senator Waters said.

Media contact: Lauren Gillin 0419 626 725

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