Charities commission kerfuffle an embarrassment for Andrews

The Abbott Government has decided to use the last two days of parliament for the year to debate abolishing the charities commission. That's an appalling message to send the not-for-profit sector as they're gearing up to help hundreds of thousands of Australian families out over Christmas.

MEDIA RELEASE

CHARITIES COMMISSION KERFUFFLE AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR ANDREWS

The Abbott Government’s plans to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission are in a shambles, as the government will this afternoon attempt to rush through a pointless bill which cannot pass the Senate.

Exactly one year ago, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews stood up in the parliament and committed to sending the charities commission to the chopping block.

Since that time:

  • A Pro-Bono Australia survey found that four out of five charities support keeping the charities commission – precisely the same share in 2014 as in their 2013 survey;
  • Over 40 charities have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister urging him to keep the charities commission;
  • More than 80 per cent of submissions to a Senate committee inquiry supported keeping it; and
  • A detailed study by Ernst & Young found the charities commission significantly cuts red tape for not-for-profits.

The bill to abolish the commission is supposed to be accompanied by a second bill outlining alternative arrangements for regulating charities, but this is nowhere to be seen.

Word is that Treasury staff are not even close to finalising this critical piece of legislation. The abolishment bill cannot take effect until that second bill is passed, so the government is just wasting the last days of parliament by bringing it on.

What’s more, after consultations with the Senate crossbench, it is clear that Mr Andrews does not have the numbers to abolish the charities commission.

Labor and a majority of crossbenchers will stand against the Abbott Government’s attempts to scrap transparency and accountability in the not-for-profit sector.

Kevin Andrews must be embarrassed at being ordered to bring on his empty bill simply to help the government run out the clock on its disastrous parliamentary year. 

WEDNESDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856


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