The environmental group at the centre of the controversy between its national president, Hon. Sandra Kanck, and the Australian Democrats has countered claims by those who expelled Ms Kanck that it is a political party.
Spokesperson for Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), Dr Jane O’Sullivan, says that SPA is recognised by the Dept of Environment (SEWPAC) as an environmental group, a prerequisite for obtaining tax deductible status through the Australian Tax Office. The regulations governing this are strict and include one that precludes any association with a political party, let alone running candidates for office as a party.
“For its 24 year history, SPA has had a mix of members from all walks of life and from all political parties. These include Labor, Liberal, National, Greens, Australian Democrats, Stable Population Party and the Stop Population Growth Party,” says Dr O’Sullivan.
“SPA is very mindful of being independent of political parties,” she says. “We are a lobby group that seeks to inform the public and policymakers of the need for an ecologically sustainable population.
“Because an ecologically sustainable population is less than the one we have at current standards of living, SPA calls for an end to population growth through lower migration and birth rates.
“It thus comes as no surprise that the leader of the coup against Ms Kanck, John Davey, is a migration agent who clearly has a vested interest in either maintaining or increasing migration levels,” says Dr O’Sullivan. “That is what this dispute is really all about.”
Dr O’Sullivan says that the national executive of SPA acknowledges the huge amount of work Ms Kanck undertook in trying to keep the Australian Democrats viable.
“This has, however, been entirely separate from the work she has done for over three years in running our organisation,” she says.