Sheikh Must Come Clean on Labor Membership – GetUp’s Claims to be Independent in Tatters

“Revelations in today's Australian that Simon Sheikh was an active member of the Labor Party for four years, prior to resigning to head up GetUp!, raise questions about his and GetUp's honesty and integrity,” Senator Abetz said today.

A statement on Mr Sheikh's website says: "When Simon was a teenager, Simon was a member of the Labor Party for a year. As happens with many people, he quickly became disillusioned and left."

“The two can't both be true,” Senator Abetz said.

“Simon Sheikh should come clean and personally say exactly how long he was a member of Labor and, if he doesn't Greens Leader, Christine Milne, should make him.”

Senator Abetz said the revelation that Simon Sheikh's stint as head of GetUp! was a weigh station between his activity for the Labor Party and the Greens reinforced the view that, far from being "independent" GetUp, was a front for the benefit of Labor and the Greens.

“I have long maintained that GetUp! is a union front, which aims to dupe people concerned about particular issues into supporting Labor and the Greens at elections,” Senator Abetz said.

“Its board members are typically from the Greens, Labor or the union movement.”

“In emails to members and in statements on its website as well as public statements, GetUp!’s officers and its employees assert that it is "independent".”

But GetUp! takes up issues as a means of identifying concerned individuals and grooming them to vote for Labor and the Greens,” Senator Abetz said.

Only last month GetUp! promoted a Simon Sheikh 'Gettogether' at Fraser in Canberra's north.

“People should exercise caution dealing with this organisation,” Senator Abetz said.

“This is the second time this week that statements by the Sheikh campaign have been contradicted.”

“Earlier this week Simon Sheikh initially denied his campaign had tried to recruit a data manager from abroad - this at the same time as the Greens are wanting to legislate to compel employers to advertise jobs locally first,” Senator Abetz said.

Senator Abetz added that Bill Shorten was on the ACTU Executive and ALP National Executive while also on GetUp's board.

Mr Shorten was even endorsed by the ALP for the federal seat of Maribyrnong in March 2006, but did not resign from the board of GetUp! until March 2007.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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136 Davey Street
Hobart  TAS  7001

(03) 6224 3707

Senator.Abetz@aph.gov.au

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