Charity sector weighed down by outdated laws - Media Release

CATRYNA BILYK
CHAIR OF THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON CHARITY FUNDRAISING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
MEMBER FOR FENNER

CHARITY SECTOR WEIGHED DOWN BY OUTDATED LAWS

The final hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century, established by Labor, was held today in Brisbane.

The Committee heard further evidence from witnesses that the efforts of complying with outdated laws across multiple jurisdictions is making it difficult and costly for charities to operate in compliance across Australia and online.

The charitable sector has been up against a lot.

Not only is it battling an anti-charities Coalition - a party which tried to shut down the charities commission before appointing a charities critic as its head - it’s also battling a chaotic patchwork of state and territory fundraising laws that barely recognise the existence of mobile phones or the internet.

At a time when 96 percent of large organisations use websites to fundraise and 80 percent use social media it’s absurd that our fundraising regulations are locked in the pre-internet age.  

Charities who raise money online are placed in the invidious position of either spending a week doing the paperwork to register in every state and territory, or just registering locally, and hoping they don’t get caught.

Labor is working to fix this. It was Labor that created the first frontbench position responsible for charities and not for profits and we’ve made the fundamental commitment to develop a consistent national approach to fundraising so that modern charities can innovate and adapt to work better with their supporters.  

The charitable sector have been banging their heads against this wall for too long - we know it’s time to get this done. With today’s final hearing, the message is crystal clear - the 21st century is here, it’s time for 21st century fundraising laws.

Labor thanks the charities and experts that have participated in this important inquiry. It’s clear the system is broken, it’s clear it needs to be fixed and it’s clear that it can be. 

ENDS

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra.


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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.