Environmental organisations receive substantial benefits from tax deductible gift status. A sample of just over 100 of these organisations collectively received around $106 million in donations in 2014.
All organisations and individuals have the right to freely express their views but there is no right to receive a tax deduction to help spread those views.
Registered environmental organisations are becoming increasingly politicised. During recent state elections some organisations called for tax deductible donations to fund ‘doorknockers’ targeting marginal seats.
While most environmental organisations are focused on practical environmental work, among a sizeable minority there exists an endemic culture of politicisation, protests, and for some, flagrant lawbreaking to further political aims.
More than 80 per cent of this group have either promoted or been involved in protests and demonstrations, and one half support divestment initiatives or legal action against certain developments.
Around 12 per cent of organisations were involved in unlawful activities of some form. Some organisations boast of their breaking of the law and ask for tax deductible donations to pay the fines and penalties that are imposed for unlawful acts.
Registered organisations should provide more information on an annual basis including financial statements, what they have done to meet the principal purpose test and criminal charges or convictions against staff or volunteers.
I made a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment Inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations and you can view that here.