Restoring confidence in public statements by independently testing and verifying the facts
Was activist group GetUp funded by Labor leader Bill Shorten?
By Brian Kelly and Louise Evans
“GetUp was funded by Bill Shorten.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. April 16, 2019.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg claimed during an interview on ABC Radio National Breakfast that GetUp, an independent activist group, was funded by ALP leader Bill Shorten. 
AAP FactCheck examined Mr Frydenberg’s claim and found it to be false.
GetUp was founded in August 2005 as “an independent, grassroots, community advocacy organisation”. One of its inaugural board members was Bill Shorten, who was then the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union.
GetUp and the AWU confirmed the union donated about $100,000 to the group as start-up capital in 2005. 
The payment was approved by the union’s national executive and was split into two tranches of $50,000 — one signed by Mr Shorten on behalf of the national office, and the other by then Victorian branch secretary Cesar Melham. 
The AWU was one of four big donors who funded the GetUp start-up. The other key donors at GetUp’s inception included then Unions NSW chief John Robertson who contributed $50,000, former Victorian Labor MP Evan Thornley who donated more than $100,000 and private equity investor and former SBS chairman Joe Skrzynski who contributed “a similar sum”. 
Mr Shorten became a Member of Parliament when he was elected as the member for Maribyrnong in Melbourne at the 2007 election.
GetUp told AAP FactCheck: “GetUp never has or will give or take money from political parties”.
The organisation’s website states it is not affiliated with political parties and carries a statement of independence. 
An Australian Electoral Commission investigation instigated by a group of Coalition senators found in 2010 a lack of evidence to prove GetUp was an “associated entity” with any political party. 
AAP FactCheck found that while Mr Shorten was national secretary of the AWU when it provided about $100,000 to help establish GetUp, there is no evidence to suggest it was his personal money, and the AWU was just one of four major donors who funded the establishment of GetUp.
- False - The checkable claim is false.
1. ‘Government's tax cut plan provides both 'immediate relief' and 'long-term, structural reform' ABC, Radio National, Breakfast April 16, 2019 (11min 15sec): https://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/pgLGK83q46?play=true
2. 'Shorten’s AWU donated $100,000 to GetUp!', by Brad Norington. The Australian. August 12, 2017: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/bill-shortens-awu-donated-100000-to-getup/news-story/1dbc649967f77b1c9c2bd565c54ffc42
3. 'AFP raids: What's behind the investigation over AWU donations to GetUp, Labor?', by Lucia Stein and Meredith Griffiths. ABC News, October 26, 2017: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-25/what-is-the-awu-accused-of/9083000
4. GetUp statement of independence: https://www.getup.org.au/about/getup-statement-of-independence
5. 'GetUp Limited', December 23, 2010, Australian Electoral Commissions, Financial Disclosure Matters: https://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/compliance/AEC_Advice/2010-nov-get-up.htm
- First published April 16, 2019 16:16 AEST