Cash Must Not Sway Policy
ENVIRONMENTALISTS spend a lot of time decrying big business, but activist groups are fast becoming corporate giants in their own right.
As The Courier-Mail reports today, (see below) top campaigners are generating a combined income of $100 million a year
— money that bankrolls a lot of media blitzes, lobbying and legal action.
To put the size of this war chest in perspective, the mining industry spent an estimated $22 million on a campaign opposing former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s mining tax, giving rise to allegations of deep-pocketed vested interests abusing their corporate power.
That groups with a common interest marshall their resources to change the direction of public policy or sway public opinion is nothing new. What has changed is the sheer weight of money involved as activists become more adept at gaining thousands of small (often tax deductible) donations to fund causes.
We must be careful to ensure that policy decisions of state or national significance are shaped by reasoned and informed debate and not by the amount of money one side can spend.
Regrettably it would appear that the rise of big money activist campaigning has not been accompanied by a recognition that with very well funded public platforms also comes a duty of social responsibility; an obligation to respect both fact and the national good, rather than an “end justifies the means” strategy to further narrow interests.
*From the editorial “Cash must not sway policy – The Courier Mail, 7/3/2017”
Courtesy Courier Mail Monday July 3 2017