The Tasmanian government is urging Canberra to strip the environmentalist Bob Brown Foundation of its charitable status.
Resources Minister Guy Barnett said he had written to Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar asking him to consider the Tasmanian-based foundation's charity status after the foundation placed an advertisement in the Hobart Mercury newspaper on Thursday urging people to "green your vote" in the coming state election.
"This is a clear breach of Charities Act 2013 and the Bob Brown Foundation should be referred to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and stripped of its charity status," Mr Barnett said.
"By openly advertising in support of the Greens, the BBF has clearly crossed the line and exposed their political aims.
"It is no secret that the Bob Brown Foundation is an extremist activist branch of the Greens and this clearly demonstrates they should not be afforded the benefits that legitimate charities receive.
"It is simply outrageous that a political organisation like the BBF are afforded the same benefits that legitimate charities receive"
He said it made a mockery of the entire Charities Act.
Dr Brown, the former Australian Greens leader and the foundation's patron, was unrepentant.
"Today's tirade by logging minister Guy Barnett against Bob Brown Foundation is a pale mimic of tactics used to suppress democratic rights in Putin's Moscow," Dr Brown said.
"No doubt Barnett's outburst has Premier Gutwein's full backing.
"To be positive, it shows just how effective our 'green your vote' campaign is shaping up to be.
"It is good feedback."
Dr Brown said the Gutwein Government had tried to stop its peaceful forest protests, its legal right to be in the forests to run a marathon, its actions for the environment in the courts, "and now our legitimate right to take part in this election campaign".
"These tactics are a pale shade of Putin; don't take up the public debate, but take out your opponents.
"The government knows it has lost public support for flattening and incinerating Tasmania's wildlife and forests, so it is hell-bent on crushing our community-backed action calling it to account, but that is what a democracy is about.
"Regarding yesterday's Mercury advertisement, it read 'green your vote...' .
"Apparently, Barnett cannot tell the difference between a noun and a verb.
"If he read that as a vote for the Greens, he was short-changing our message.
"We want Tasmanians to vote for any candidates, Greens included, who advocate an end to native forest logging and clearfell napalming of this island's magnificent forests.
"There was not a peep out of Barnett when the Exclusive Brethren drove around Salamanca in a previous campaign with huge billboards condemning the Greens.
"Our advertising is powerful and has got under his skin.
"That's why the government is calling foul.
"But a lot more is coming, so they had better get used to it."
The foundation is best known in Tasmania for protesting against forestry and some mining operations.
Activists' practice of attaching themselves to machinery and infrastructure has led to a string of arrests.
Braddon Liberal MHR Gavin Pearce has also questioned the foundation's status as a charity, which gives it tax-related advantages.
After foundation activists recently attached themselves to vehicles to prevent access to Venture Minerals Limited's developing Riley Iron Ore Mine, near Tullah, Mr Pearce told federal parliament: " ... these extremists have made it very clear."
"They will not stop.
"That's why I welcome the Morrison Government's commitment to strengthen laws to ensure charities are prohibited from engaging in, or promoting theft, vandalism, trespass, assault and threatening behaviour.
"This will stop activist organisations like the Bob Brown Foundation, masquerading as charities, from promoting and engaging in unlawful behaviour."