Tags: grassroots organisations

2 Jul 2006, Comments Off on Feeding the Astroturf

Feeding the Astroturf

Author: Helen

Image from http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blastroturf.htm

This reminds me, I should be out sprinkling lime on our real but neglected grass.

I blogged a while back about rightwing thinktanks and their spurious claim that “leftist” activists and NGOs have too much influence on governments. This article by Katherine Wilson in Overland (via LP) shows an excellent example of how arse-about this is. The Charities Bill 2003, for which the IPA was paid to consult with the Commonwealth government, also sought to muzzle charities and their peak bodies.

Clause 8 of the draft Bill would exclude from charitable status organisations that have among their purposes:

-changing the law or Government policy
-advocating a cause…

The Overland article, though, deals mainly with Astroturf organisations, which the CIS and IPA are not. Astroturf organisations are fronts set up by industry peak bodies and corporations which are meant to look like grassroots organisations concerned with the environment, family, or whatever. The lovely Canadian bloke described in the article, Ross S. Irvine, was conducting a seminar.

Held in a plush seminar room at a city business school, it cost A$595 for four hours, payable to the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).
In this workshop, I’d learn how to create bogus community groups, false statistics, and links with “far-right-wing nutso activists”. I’d learn to conflate “activist” with “terrorist” and “security threat”.

Read the whole thing. If you live in Melbourne, you might recognise someone from your local government there. Hello, Shannon Walker of Darebin local council. Hello, Liza McDonald of the Port of Melbourne Corporation.