According to BBC, the Australian government recently opened an investigation into a UFO sighting organization that is has unknowingly been funding for years. The group’s inner workings are fairly mysterious, and Australian government officials are trying to uncover more details about them. Despite that fact, though, the group has been taking money from the government for years in the form of taxpayer funding.
Now that the government is aware that some money is going to the Tuggerah Lakes UFO Group each year, they need to find out more about the group to determine if that funding should continue. After all, money from the government is taxpayer money, and the organizations it goes to should be helping society as a whole. Does a UFO sighting group meet that criterion?
“I asked the department to hold the transmission of funds until they could give me a little more detail around what the group does,” said Australian Parliament member Christian Porter when asked about the UFO viewing organization.
A bit has been discovered about this group in the past few day, and, sadly, it is not quite on par with the Men in Black. Instead, it’s more of a club that organizes meetings to discuss recent UFO rumors and use computers to hunt for new UFO evidence. It also hosts night excursions that allow the members to search the skies for “unusual activity.”
[Image by Yuri_Arcurs/iStock]
A representative for Tuggerah Lakes UFO group says that the small amount of government funding it gets — 6000 Aussie dollars since 2013 — is used to buy projectors and microphones for these UFO discussion meetings, as well as to arrange special transport to the events for the group’s many elderly members who have trouble mobilizing.
“The funding will help (the UFO group’s) volunteers to do their important work,” the Australian Department of Social Services says about the UFO sighting organization. “By sharing their experiences and knowledge within the community the volunteers foster social inclusion and enrich the local region.”
It has been pointed out that UFO sightings and the mystique surrounding them are indeed one of the biggest regional hallmarks of Australia’s Central Coast, where the Tuggerah Lakes UFO group is located.
“The Central coast boasts the highest number of UFO sightings in Australia,” ABC News Breakfast’s Michael Rowland said when Porter went on the show Thursday. “Perhaps there’s something there.”
Porter responded that he thought the increased amount of UFO sightings was probably due to the government support.
“It’s very hard to unpack cause and effect,” Porter smiled.
“You tend to find a lot of sightings when you’re funding UFO sighting groups, I tend to think.”
Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Christian Porter being sworn in in 2014. [Image by Stefan Postles/Getty Images]
The Tuggerah Lakes UFO group is at very least a popular social fixture — it has over 1,000 followers on Facebook, according to The Telegraph. It provides the public with an enjoyable program, and, regardless of whether or not it contributes anything to actual UFO-related research, it allows people to pursue a passion and bond with their fellow community members.
A good amount of the funding is even used to transport members and volunteer workers with disabilities. Funding those kinds of organizations might not directly be helping out all taxpayers, but it is somewhat of an assurance that the government will help support the activities of any Australian citizen who becomes elderly, physically disabled, or for any other reason reliant on paid help.
Still, the Australian government insists, the UFO sighting organization is essentially a pleasure activity and seems like something people should have to pay for out of pocket if they want to participate.
“I’m sure they are very nice people and there are lots of volunteers who are getting something out of it, but looking at it from my perspective, representing taxpayers, it did not seem to pass a common sense test,” Porter tells the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The crux of the matter seems to be whether you believe UFO sightings are a credible and worthwhile scientific contribution or not. The massive popularity of online news about UFO encounters makes it obvious lots of people do think of it as a worthwhile pursuit, but a chairman of the Tuggerah Lakes UFO group says that many locals do not feel the same way.
“It’s getting better, but some people think we’re all crazy,” she admits. “We actually get people come to our meetings from all walks of life. We’re all open-minded to aliens being out there. When you read and hear the stories (of UFO sightings), anything’s possible.”
[Featured Image by Jae C. Hong/AP Images]