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Why are these groups or the unions or in fact any ginger group from left or right, allowed to define themselves as charities and get the usual tax benefits and exemptions??
Exactly what charitable work as commonly understood by the average Australian are they involved in?

“….Australia’s eight most active environmental groups with tax-­exempt charity status pulled in $83 million last year and received almost three quarters of a billion dollars in the past decade.

The $83m in combined income for 2015 is significantly more than the nearly $60.5m in taxpayer funding handed to Australia’s political parties and candidates after the last election.

The eight environmental groups analysed by The Australian — Greenpeace Australia Pacific, WWF Australia, Friends of the Earth (Australia), the Sunrise Project, the Lock the Gate Alliance, Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Wilderness Society — together have raked in income of $685m over the past decade.

All the groups are registered charities and eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. Revelations that their income take of nearly $700m over a decade sparked calls yesterday for greater transparency around the funding of environmental groups.

Some groups such as the Sunrise Project have received the vast majority of their income in the forms of “grants and donations” but have attempted to avoid disclosing donors.

Resources Minister Matthew Canavan seized on the income figures to argue for parliament to examine tougher disclosure rules for foreign donations to environmental groups while former prime minister Tony Abbott warned there was a “well-connected global network” conspiring against the Australian coal industry.

The use of tax-exempt charity status to fund environmental challenges to developments through the courts and public campaigns has become a major concern within the government, the Australian Taxation Office as well as in the US. Environmental groups and US-based billion-dollar foundations have used charity status to help fund their actions, funnelling funds to groups without tax ­exemptions and hiding donors.

The Turnbull government is reviving proposals to crack down on environmental groups using their charity status as a screen following revelations that Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta received briefings about the campaign waged by the Sunrise Project against the $16 billion Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. In an email chain, sent to Mr Podesta’s private account, Sunrise Project director John Hepburn is revealed brainstorming ways to avoid the disclosure of the group’s funding and grant agreements ­before a parliamentary committee investigating the tax-deductible status of green organisations…” Eight biggest green groups net $685m windfall over decade