GetUp! is an Australian political organisation that aims to hold politicians accountable on important issues. GetUp was launched in August 2005, the week that the Coalition took control of the Australian Senate.
GetUp campaigns are based largely around email and its website, however the organisation also uses broadcast and print media to get its message across. GetUp is focussed on community based campaigning.
GetUp activities are primarily coordinated through the internet. GetUp is a not-for-profit organisation and receives no money from any political party or the government, relying solely on funds and in-kind donations from the Australian public.
GetUp describes itself as "a new independent political movement to build a progressive Australia. GetUp brings together like-minded people who want to bring participation back into our democracy." GetUp identifies campaigns based on the interests and input of its members, including social justice, economic and environmental issues. GetUp favours issues of national importance.
The site encouraged visitors to send an email to Coalition senators that read "I’m sending you this message because I want you to know that I’m watching. Now that you have absolute power in the Senate, it is only people like me who can hold you accountable. And we will."
As listed on the GetUp! website, past campaigns include:
GetUp is a non-profit organisation, registered as GetUp Ltd. In the vein of Moveon.org, much of the organisation’s funding comes in the form of small contributions made through its website. Under Australia’s taxation regime, donations to GetUp are not considered tax-deductible as the organisation advocates for changes to government policy. GetUp has a small team of staff and volunteers based in Sydney, including Executive Director Brett Solomon.
GetUp's board members are:
Madden and Heimans ran campaigns in the United States against President George W. Bush.Tattersall serves as Research Director at Unions New South Wales. Former board members have included Evan Thornley and Bill Shorten who left the board to pursue party political positions, and former Liberal Party of Australia leader John Hewson who left the organisation soon after its founding.
The GetUp! website allows visitors to send pro forma protest emails to Coalition parliamentarians, leading to charges that GetUp! generates spam. Shortly after the first GetUp! emails began to arrive, member for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull said that "When you get 1,000 emails, all in exactly the same form, it's not exactly as persuasive as a bunch of emails people have written to independently express themselves." GetUp dismisses this criticism arguing that it rarely allows for form letters or emails, rather it encourages its members to write individual and handcrafted emails. This position is reflected in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald which acknowledges the role of GetUp in "an age in which people were interested in political issues but no longer had the time to write letters.
GetUp has repeatedly rejected this claim, reiterating that they are strictly independent and don’t have any affiliation with any political party. GetUp cites a number of campaigns which critique the Labor party, including “Your message to Labor” regarding climate change and also the anti-Gunns pulp mill campaigns. GetUp quotes that “our campaigns target issues and those with the power to make them happen rather than directly for or against a party”.
In August, 2005, Australian Special Minister of State Eric Abetz called for two Australian regulatory bodies — the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) — to investigate GetUp's corporate structure, donations, and affiliation with political parties. The AEC rejected the call for an investigation concluding that there were "insufficient grounds on which to undertake a formal investigation."
Since the change of Government in 2007, GetUp has criticised Labor Party policies such as FuelWatch.