Greens candidate ... Simon Sheikh says it is an oversight there are still apparent links to GetUp! Photo: Jeffrey Chan
GetUp! says a subsidiary that listed Greens’ ACT Senate candidate Simon Sheikh as a director was never operational and the recently corrected listing was an oversight, with the reference to the company owning a live website also a mistake.
Getup! national director Sam McLean said Mr Sheikh's name had been removed on Friday as a director and secretary of the Community Campaigning subsidiary, and the terms of service of the CommunityRun website had also been altered to reflect it has also always been owned by the parent company.
According to the website, the campaigns that use the platform - covering issues include heritage homes, children in detention and voluntary euthanasia - are "not run nor endorsed by GetUp in any way".
Coalition Senate leader Eric Abetz has stood by his call for Mr Sheikh to stand down or be sacked as a Greens' candidate in connection with the link with the lobby group and other oversights.
Mr Sheikh has not disputed that he was still listed on Friday morning as a director and secretary of its subsidiary, registered in February last year, but said it was a matter for GetUp! to resolve.
GetUp! national director Sam McLean told Fairfax Media the organisation had fixed the listing, and stood by his statements the subsidiary had never traded or been funded by GetUp! after being alerted to the website, which is directly accessible from the GetUp! homepage.
"This organisation went to start up a subsidiary company to do some campaigning, but it was never funded, never operational," Mr McLean said.
"We certainly decided it was unnecessary ... because it was never operational it was easy to overlook the paperwork."
Mr McLean said Mr Sheikh had not had any links with the left-wing lobby group since he ended ties in July last year.
Mr Sheikh said in a statement that his continued listing in the roles was an oversight.
"I understand that there was an oversight with some paperwork at GetUp! and that they will be rectifying this," he said.
On Friday morning Mr Abetz dismissed Mr McLean's paperwork oversight excuse as "very thin".
"The fact is that Simon Sheikh is still the sole director and secretary of a wholly owned GetUp! subsidiary and this is just the latest in a series of discrepancies," the senator said.
"In December last year, on the announcement of his endorsement – in front of his federal leader, Christine Milne - Simon Sheikh swore that he was 'not involved in that organisation any more'.”
Liberal Senate candidate Zed Seselja has also called for Mr Sheikh to explain the connection, after separate inconsistencies were revealed in April on the length of Mr Sheikh’s time as a Labor party member before he joined the activist group in 2008.
“Given that his explanation the last time wasn’t the truth, I think we’re entitled to be a little bit sceptical, but again it is up to him to explain,” Mr Seselja told 2CC radio on Thursday morning.
“And it is an important issue because he went there and he said he had no links to GetUp!, I think GetUp! saw that that was important for them to separate, he saw it as being important to say that he was now a Greens’ candidate, and none of it is adding up right now.”
Mr Sheikh apologised in April for a statement that he had been an ALP member for one year, after documents revealed he had been a financial member for double that time.
The Greens' candidate released email correspondence to Fairfax Media in April showing that he was a financial member of the ALP for two years between the ages of 18 and 20, but the party kept his name on the books for another two years until he called NSW Labor in September 2008.
The former director of social issues at GetUp! was selected as the Greens’ candidate for an ACT Senate seat in December shortly after moving to Canberra, and at that time said he had left the lobby group last July.
Mr Seselja told 2CC that the "difference between being an activist and a political campaigner is that you have to be accountable for what you say".
In May, Mr Sheikh told the ABC he had made a mistake by offering students of a leadership course at Australian National University - co-convened by his wife Anna Rose - the chance to sign up for campaign updates during the lecture.
Mr Sheikh said News Ltd had been running a campaign against the Greens.
"Their own editorial has disclosed that they believe the Greens should be 'destroyed'," he said.
"The ACT Senate race is the tightest in the country and will therefore continue to be a focal point for the campaign efforts of both the Liberals and The Australian."