There’s been a lot of discussion about the record swing that saw the NSW seat of Wentworth switch from one of the safest Liberal seats in the country to Independent, Dr Kerryn Phelps.
Certainly there were many factors at play. But one that seems to have escaped a great deal of scrutiny is the major role of GetUp and other left-leaning organisations in securing the result they wanted.
An article in the Guardian just before the by-election outlined some of the valuable support that Dr Phelps received from a kabal of green groups and GetUp:
… GetUp has organised an army of phone banking volunteers who have called more than 85,000 of Wentworth’s 103,000 registered voters.
… GetUp will have literally hundreds of volunteers at polling places handing out cards that explain how to cast your vote for the environment. It gives four options: Greens, the independents Kerryn Phelps and Licia Heath, and Labor.
… The ACF (Australian Conservation Foundation) does not issue how-to-vote cards, but has sent its 5,000 supporters in Wentworth a scorecard rating each candidate on their environmental policies and has asked them to talk to their friends and family about the issues.
The advertising has also been more conventional, and the ACF has been running advertisements about climate change and drought in local cinemas, while GetUp has crowd-sourced funds for mobile billboards that have become regular features on the streets of Wentworth.
The ACF has also produced electorate-specific data on what climate change will mean for that community. It plans to replicate the work, by the Australian National University, for more electorates during the general election.
Wentworth is proving a useful test bed for strategies the environmental groups plan to use next year.
“Wentworth is a trial run for tactics for the election next year,” McFadzean (Gavan McFadzean, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s climate campaigner) says.
The truth is, radical left-wing groups like the ACF and GetUp, without running a candidate themselves, had a huge impact on the result in Wentworth. In fact, with a winning margin of less than 2%, it’s pretty clear that their efforts got Dr Phelps over the line.
With determined, cashed up, and organised groups like these taking up the causes of the radical left and greens at the next election it’s clear that a counter force is needed.
Advance Australia believes that mainstream issues should be front and centre of the political agenda – and that we need to be as organised and strategic as those who are undermining our way of life – like GetUp!.
You could be forgiven for asking why? Why would the ACF and GetUp! campaign – the answer is simple money. GetUp! has a deal with Powershop, a 100% renewable energy company, where GetUp! gets $100 for every supporter who switches to Powershop, to date GetUp! has earned over $1 million – which they use to campaign against you, your values and your family.