By Joe Montero
The GetUp campaign against Kevin Andrews is partly because he topped the list of an internal poll of Victorian members. Andrews was rated as even worse than Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton.
GetUp will also be campaigning against Abbott and Dutton in their own turfs
Above all, he is a key player in the reincarnation of the Liberal Party towards an ideology of the radical right. Andrews is a founding member of the closely linked to the coal industry Monash Forum, and reputed to be the founder of the false story about African gangs terrorising Melbourne. He has long been a leading advocate for cutting Centrelink payments and making life as difficult as possible for claimants.
After the Victorian election last year, which saw Kevin Andrews type politics receive a hiding and made the Coalition vulnerable, GetUp has decided that this is an opportunity to make a mark.
GetUp has another incentive. The Coalition the government has declared war against it. It was proved beyond all doubt, by the Michaelia Cash’s politically driven raids of its and the Australian Workers Union offices. GetUp had supported the campaign for marriage equality and other issues against which stood Kevin Andrews.
The Coalition has long tried to paint GetUp as a tool of Labor and the Greens, although GetUp has always guarded its independence, which is a critical factor in the extent of its popularity among Australians, and particularly younger people.
The Cash raids were aimed at creating the illusion that the organisation is dependent on donations connected to these parties, and prompted after GetUp had distributed how to vote cards in 2016, directing preferences away from the Liberal and National parties.
As well as the Cash raids, this led to the introduction of “associated entity” legislation, where organisations are compelled to register connections with political parties. The definition of connections is so loose that anyone opposing the government parties and saying people should vote against them could be included. Pressure was put on GetUp to register. It refused.
Although Labor and Greens supporters want to see the end of the Coalition, they are not the only ones.
Factor in the growing disillusionment with traditional politics and the falling standing of the parliamentary political system as it operates in Australia, and there is evidence of a growing movement for change.
This movement wants to bring an end to the politics of hate and community division, a fairer and more equal society, take away the power of big money over politics. The thousands who are involved in GetUp are part of this movement.