GetUp! thugs threaten carbon tax "blackmail"


Doing Labor’s dirty work for them yet again, GetUp! has threatened to boycott grocery companies if they oppose the carbon tax:

A POWERFUL consumer lobby group [leftwing political activist group – Ed] has threatened a mass boycott of major grocery companies if they oppose the carbon tax.

Activist group Get Up has been accused of blackmail after sending a warning letter to 150 companies including Coca-Cola, Heinz, Kraft, McDonald’s, Schweppes and Nestle.

Get Up says it will urge its 570,000 members to “boycott goods and services that are linked to the scare campaign”.

Get Up confirmed it was prepared to mount a national boycott of the products of any company that was “holding our climate to ransom” by supporting a multi-million-dollar anti-tax advertising campaign by business.

Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Kate Carnell described the letter as blackmail and bullying.

“There is no doubt this is blackmail,” she told the Herald Sun.

“I’m horrified that an entity like Get Up who supposedly encourage free speech, seems only to believe that’s OK when people agree with Get Up.

“Threatening a boycott is really bullying.”

Ms Carnell said some of her smaller members who received the letter were worried the boycott could cost jobs.

“They are saying to our members if you support the Australian Food and Grocery Council taking a position against the carbon tax then we will encourage our members to boycott your goods and services,” she said.

Other companies who received the letter include Arnott’s, Colgate-Palmolive, Foster’s, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Sanitarium, Unilever, Patties Foods, Jalna and Eagle Boys Pizza.

Ms Carnell said her members were not climate change deniers but they did have concern about the carbon tax harming competitiveness and the 300,000 jobs in the food and grocery sector. (source)

You can read the letter here (PDF).

Under the New South Wales Crimes Act 1900, “blackmail” is defined as follows in section 249K:

(1) A person who makes any unwarranted demand with menaces:

(a) with the intention of obtaining a gain or of causing a loss, or

(b) with the intention of influencing the exercise of a public duty,

is guilty of an offence.

Section 249M what constitutes a “menace”, in particular towards a corporation:

(1) For the purposes of this Part“menaces” includes:

(a) an express or implied threat of any action detrimental or unpleasant to another person, and

(b) a general threat of detrimental or unpleasant action that is implied because the person making the unwarranted demand holds a public office.

(3) A threat against a Government or body corporate does not constitute a menace unless:

(a) the threat would ordinarily cause an unwilling response, or

(b) the threat would cause an unwilling response because of a particular vulnerability of which the person making the threat is aware.

In this case there is a clear intent to cause a loss arising from the boycott, and there appears also to be an “unwarranted demand with menaces”, or threats that these actions will take place if the grocery companies oppose the carbon tax. Also, there is an awareness of the vulnerability of small grocers to such threats, and the possibility of them being put out of business. I’m not a criminal lawyer, but it’s arguable at least…

We can only hope that ordinary Australians see through these desperate, cheap scare tactics for what they are. GetUp! does not represent the majority of Australians, just a vocal and dangerous minority of extremists.

One word for Sheikh and his bullies: GetLost.


  1. Vince Schultz says:

    I personally have to wonder how many real members they have. Several years ago I joined to protest about something very trivial, don’t remember what.

    Recently I went to the site to try and un-join and there is no option I can find to do that. I suspect the activist part of the organisation is not all that big, or powerful.

    I think they should just be ignored until the ALP and Unions stop funding them.

  2. Colin Ob says:

    I would not worry too much about a boycott. it’s one thing for most people to write letters it’s another for the average Joe to give up his coke. Maybe it’s time for people more skilled in word use and organisation than I, to start off our own lobey group.

  3. Laurie Williams says:

    Could be one of the best things to happen to coincide with the terminal phase of Gillard’s period as PM. Very few people would follow GetUp’s lead anyway. This extortion stunt will backfire, making the nutcase Left look even worse than it already does. Lovely 🙂

  4. Heard Andrew Bolt on the radio this morning. He was saying that there is a core of about 18,000 hard core members, that actually financially support the activist group. Apparently if you go to the getup site and click a box to agree to receive emails that automatically includes you in member numbers.
    I know its a bit extreme, but I keep thinking back to Nazi Germany and the labelling of Jewish businesses with the star of David to make sure other Nazi supporters were aware of the store owners “beliefs”.

  5. You know, its quite possible that with 80% of your citizens opposed to the carbon tax, that businesses in certain regions of the country where the economic base comes from resource extraction might be considered quite heroic for their vocal opposition.

  6. Here’s an idea they may go for. If all GetUp members boycott ANY and ALL products produced using carbon dioxide or containing carbon pollution for 12 months then the rest of us will do whatever they ask us to do at the end of that twelve month period.

  7. Sean McHugh says:

    I never believed that GetUp has the muscle it claims. The worry is that they will be able to successfully bluff these businesses. It’s possibly important that the latter be made aware of GetUp’s limitations. Most customers would be dead against the leftist extremism of this group. The businesses would do more harm to themselves by caving into GetUp’s thuggery than they would by defying it. If the businesses stand up to them, then the boycott won’t work and will only serve to expose the GetUp people as hot-air-self-inflated bullies.

  8. “Get his face off my monitor” sums it up brilliantly. Just hearing his name or that of his looney organisation is enough to enrage me.

  9. The Loaded Dog says:

    Here we are in Australia in 2011 in a so called free democracy and we have a political activist group bullying any opposition to them.

    I’m speechless.

    But not in the way they want me to be…

    • This will be part of Mad Julia’s legacy.
      There’s a lesson here children – don’t vote for nutters.

  10. Baldrick says:

    This proposed boycott is un-Australian but why does GetUp! only propose their boycott against the Australian Food and Grocery Council? Why don’t they propose a boycott against the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Coal Association, Manufacturing Australia, Plastics and Chemical Industries Association or The Minerals Council, to name a few? If GetUp! were serious they should also boycott these industries too as they’re also against the carbon dioxide tax.

    But wait … oh of course they don’t want to impact on their own way of living, that might mean they can’t sip their soy lattes at inner west cafes whilst doing a bit of basket weaving. Heaven forbid, what would north shore doctor’s wives do if they boycotted the shops?

    Why don’t they boycott the Coal Association? Oh wait … where would they get their power from … renewables? Not likely.

    What about boycotting Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who’s members include Australian Made, The Pharmacy Guild, A.H.A. Australian Retailers Association, H.I.A., Master Builders Association to name but a few? Oh … that might put in jeopardy the indoor swimming pool or that 3rd floor addition.

    “Hmmm …. just stick to the easy targets. I’m all for a carbon tax but I still want to live my life in the custom I’m use to. Now where was I …. basket weaving at 2pm, couscous for dinner tonight …. “

  11. Sean McHugh says:

    Looks like a Mona Lisa with a few more pounds of fat and self-satisfaction. I never did like that painting!

  12. Personally, I do not want to buy from pro-pollution companies.

    Thank you GetUp for informing me, so that I can exercise my free will.

    This is democracy, not blackmail. Get over it.

    • Pollution? Go and boycott China and see how far you’ll get!
      Total CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is 0.038%. Manmade is 3% of that or 0.0011%. Australia emits 1.5% of the 0.0011% equals 0.0000171% and 5% cut in emissions will be? Yip you’ve guessed it; right on about f***all%. Economic suicide!

    • Baldrick says:

      mark, why not take up grumpys suggestion and ‘boycott ANY and ALL products produced using carbon dioxide or containing carbon pollution for 12 months’?
      If you don’t want to buy from pro-pollution companies I would assume that includes petrol stations or energy companies and just about all Australian manufactures. Send us a postcard when your back in the stone-age … oh sorry – that’s not allowed.

    • Herbert says:

      Mark, those companies you don’t want to buy from?

      That’s ALL of the companies in Australia.

      Hope you like living on little desert island somewhere near Antarctica.

    • Sean McHugh says:

      Mark @ 12 said,

      Personally, I do not want to buy from pro-pollution companies.

      You are confused. CO2 isn’t pollution; it’s as necessary as oxygen. Secondly, this is going to do nigh on nothing to reduce CO2 levels and even the next-to-nothing reduction it would seek, would simply be gleefully used by other competing nations. This tax is only about Labor appeasing the Greens, staying in power, pocketing some money and sending the rest overseas. Regardless of what Australia does, China (yes, that fine green example that shames us) will be increasing its CO2 emissions by the amount we propose to reduce, every 10 days! The US has also abandoned the whole thing and India won’t be following us either. With this tax, we are simply making idiots of ourselves and doing nothing to fix what ain’t broke.

      Thank you GetUp for informing me, so that I can exercise my free will.

      Free will? As in, do what I want or I will damage you? So precisely how did GetUp inform you of this free-will option? Were you one of the businesses?

      This is democracy, not blackmail. Get over it.

      If GetUp had its way, you would not have democracy. GetUp is just one of the denominations under Bob Brown, who, the other day, openly admitted to wanting Australia to be under a world government. That ultimate socialist communist goal would come as no surprise to ACM and Jo Nova readers. Withdrawing one’s own custom is not blackmail, but sending a threatening letter, warning of a boycott being instigated, unless the recipient tows the leftist line, well that might be another matter. At the very least, it is bullying.

      • Very well said and written Sean. If only these people would open thier eyes to the truth.

    • Well you better turn off your computer, Marky boy, because you are polluting right now.

      Lets see. Your computer is probably running on coal right now. If not, by some miracle solar power is providing 100% of your usage, it was most definitely made in a factory running on coal, as were the solar panels. Your computer is full of copper, possibly some gold and silver, plus a whole heap of other nasty chemicals – even more if it is a laptop with a battery.

      It was built in a far-away country, driven to a dock on a diesel powered truck, loaded with a diesel powered crane and shipped across the ocean on an oil powered ship. Said truck, ship and crane are all built from steel, which was made by burning coal and digging up iron ore. All of which was shipped from one side of the planet to another in, you guessed it, more trucks, cranes and ships, all built from steel and all powered with diesel and oil. But let’s not get too caught up in that recursive nightmare of chicken and egg.

      Once your computer was built and encased in plastic (made from oil) and surrounding with foam and plastic packaging (made from oil) it was then driven to a showroom or distribution centre in a diesel powered truck. From there it went to your place either using your own car or a delivery vehicle. Again with the steel, coal, petrol or diesel and oil.

      Then it got put on your desk. The rubbish from the packaging was taken away and put in landfill. If it replaced an old computer that probably went into landfill as well, complete with all the toxic chemicals inside. You might have recycled it but I would guess not, and only a small percentage gets successfully recycled.

      Then you connected it up to the internet, which is powered by – you guessed it – coal – along a lot of copper wire, which was mined out of the ground, carted around by steel trucks, cranes and ships – oops, sorry, getting recursive again. Maybe you are one of the handful of customers on the NBN, which instead of being made from copper is made from glass, which is made from a big ‘ol ugly sand mine.

      Then you connected to the ACM server, which is sitting in a big energy hungry building somewhere in a climate-controlled environment, with massive cooling operations and lots of other computers all sucking up power 24×7, all running on coal, all so you could come here at your leisure and put your hypocritical little statement about not wanting to buy from pro-polluting companies.

      Get over your sanctimonious BS and drop the feeble arguments. The ‘polluters’ are us. The companies provide what we demand. Institutions and corporations are just collections of people like you and me working together. You are just as responsible for pollution as I and the other commenters on this blog. Unless you’re in the savannah beating this message out on sticks and living in a mud hut, you’ve created a trail of massive pollution in your life to get to this point. So have I. I’m just not hiding under some kind of denial rock pretending if the nasty mining companies would just stop digging holes in the ground, then everything would be all right.

      I see a mining operation and marvel at the engineering. I see a power station and wonder in awe at the large scale creation of clean, silent and efficient electricity. I don’t wander around thinking the world is going to end because a diet of angst-ridden guilt-laden undergraduate politics has filled me with a mistaken sense of attitude that other peoples shit stinks, but mine gives off a delicate perfumed aroma.

      You are just as much a part of this fantastic world we have as I am, but you are delusional about the miracle technology and society that protects you from a short and brutal life and gives you the best quality of life the world has ever seen, far better than any medieval king. “useful idiots” like yourself are enabling this backwards movement of pretending you can have your cake and eat it too. You think you can use technology to complain about pollution while you sit in a durable house with a refrigerator running non-stop and hot water at the twist of a wrist, and rubbish that gets taken away on a regular basis. Humans create pollution. Real pollution, too, not phoney focus group ‘carbon pollution’. Get over it. Humans also slaughter animals and rip plants out of the ground to eat them. That’s the cycle of life on this planet : eat or get eaten.

      You should be (and will be in the future) ashamed of yourself and your hypocritical attitude. Your awakening might be 10 days or 10 years away. But it will happen.


      • WOW brc… very good. I think people forget to look at the whole picture like that. If they are so concerned , throw away thier computers, turn off the lights and walk everywhere, where ever that might be. More than likely Mark it wont be your job.

    • The Loaded Dog says:

      Brilliant post Mark. I’m with you 100 percent. In fact, I feel I can’t stop applauding you….or Getup…

  13. TLD & Grumpy
    You guys have touched on 2 important issues here;
    1. Democracy. This statement, in today’s world is a farce. Governments across the globe have some form of socialism and or autocratic policies in place with only one objective: CONTROL. I have worked and lived in 12 countries in my lifetime. The only difference between these countries is the “tolerance allowance” of the so called freedom a citizen has. CO2 has become just another “tool” to enhance the control (read; hard earned taxes and “the debate is over”/science settled/shut up/no freedom of speech). “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”: Bobby McGee – Chris Kristofferson.
    2. Grumpy, I would go a step further with organizations like Getup (or is it Getf*cked). All the Greens & associates (environmentalism is a mental disorder types come to mind) must wear their logos on them (or even better: tattoos! Haven’t we heard this one before?). They want to boycott who? They should be refused to fill up their vehicle, buy food, disconnect their electricity supply, you get the message. They can go and develop their own “colonies” where they can live next to “big noisy fans”, dig up roots to eat, live in caves, worship GAIA in piece, etc.
    I am going to stop typing right now as I am all worked up, p*ssed off, whatever (I am I said – Neil Diamond: “I’m not a man who likes to swear, but………..”).

  14. Those who have the most to lose get the noisiest out of complete desperation – just before it all comes crashing down………….

    “Miss…miss…he wont let me bully him out of their tuckshop money…..”

    “what the?”

    We have no place for what is 5 year old-like playground tattle-tale whining bullying and and thuggery in this country.

  15. They can go back to Russia perhaps?

  16. Simon, I would not give them oxygen. Our industries can safely ignore this laughable threat. GetUp is hardly a powerful lobby group. It is basically Simon what’s-his-name with some cash from ACTU and at most several thousand followers with a delusion of grandeur. Pro-carbon tax hardly features on their wider member’s wish list on their website, however many there may be, let alone boycotting any businesses. At worst, you will have several hundred people making loud noise. Even left wing unionists have had enough of Simon and his “remorseless self-promotion and self-congratulation of GetUp”.

    The GetUp management is verballing their members, and if I were them, I would ask for management to be elected, and not be the fiefdom of one well paid self-promoting guy.

  17. David Davidovics says:

    I don’t think even the russians want them.

  18. fred nerk says:

    Looks like another case of Brain Death not being fatal.Cheers,CO2 is life

  19. In fact, the businesses should call their bluff – and measure the effect of their ‘terrifying’ boycott on their business – and totally make a laughing stock of this silly Simon Sheikh.

  20. Hi,
    From an article in the Australian, about half way down the page:-

    Speculation on the carbon tax’s final shape intensified as the advertising battle over the carbon tax looked headed for the courts after activist group GetUp! wrote to members of the Australian Food and Grocery Council threatening a boycott of their products if they participated in a mooted advertising campaign against the tax.

    But Food and Grocery Industry Council chief executive Kate Carnell said the boycott threat was an attack on Australian jobs. “It is very interesting that an organisation like GetUp! that supposedly is about letting people express an opinion, tries to stop people whose opinion doesn’t align with their own,” she said.

    Food industry sources pointed to section 45D of the Trade Practices Act, which prohibits secondary boycotts. The Australian.

    So GetUp has actually broken the law.

  21. Here are some contact details for the Australia Food and Grocery Council. Please contact or send them an email to show your support against the GetUp thugs.

    Head Office Phone Number: (02) 6273 1466
    General Email:
    CEO: Kate Carnell –
    Media Contact: Brad Watts –
    You can also leave them feedback via

  22. The defacto Deputy PM Milne when she was annoucing Labor’s policy on renewables couldn’t stop herself from supporting the GetUp action.
    This is GetUp’s dumbest move ever and given Gillard was livered at Joel Fitzgibbon’s actions yesterday and coupled with the fact the GetUp blunder is far worse.

    Will Gillard give the founder and the CEO of GetUp a more severe dressing down? They are: Bill Shorten and Simon Sheikh.

  23. Play these clowns at their own game.
    Vote here if you have already signed up – not that I recommend that you sign up!

  24. Seano from Western Sydney says:

    Having read the letter, I am disappointed by the response to it of ACM. I would have expected you to uphold the right of GetUp and its members to boycott those who support a cause that they oppose while arguing the case that GetUp is backing a flawed cause. If Australian law does not support the right of GetUp! to urge their members to boycott those companies that oppose the carbon (dioxide) tax, then it is a sad day for free markets and free speech.

    At the end of the day, I reserve the right to do business with whoever I would like to do business with. As I see it, it would be no different to ACM urging your followers to boycott for their support of the Greens, or Dick Smith for his support of the Greens and global genocide aka population control.

    In case you think I’m a moonbat, I’m not. I campaigned for a seat in Parliament in NZ in 2002 with a very conservative party. My natural tendency is to vote Liberal / CDP. I support low flat taxes. I am not a climate change denier because I believe that climate change has been going on since there was an earth and all human beings were contributing to the atmosphere were a combination of campfire CO2 and intestinal methane (some of us more than others). I oppose almost every campaign that GetUp! runs. But I support their right to say what they want to say and to urge their members to boycott those companies that oppose their objectives. That is informing a free market.

    If they were urging vandalism of coles, Woolies, or a Unilever factory, etc, then that would actually be different. But this is urging people to vote with their wallets, and I support their right to do that. If that is illegal, then the law is an ass.

  25. It has probably been mentioned in another post, but not on this article. I thought those opposed to the CO2 tax were putting together a $10 million war chest, but did Julia not say that $12 million of taxpayers money was earmarked (or being spent) for a similar, but pro-tax fund?

    Being a taxpayer, I know which side of this spending offends me…

    Seems to me like the only clear winners from this are the advertising agencies?

    GetUp! is nothing short of a national embarrassment, much like the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. As I’ve said in a previous post, they should all go to Paraguay and try their hand at another utopian society, and see how long it lasts, particularly if they can’t update Facebook every 5 seconds.

  26. Before we parrot-like support any-one that echoes our sentiment; and heap scorn on their opponents–surely we should consider the calibre of these persons.

    [snip – for the last time, I am struggling to see the relevance of this – further comments will be deleted unless they are relevant and succinct]

  27. Follow the money. Who pays the GetFuct nills? Soros [snip] and WWF Prince Philip [snip]. See any links here:

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