WEDNESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2018
SUBJECTS: The Coalition’s war on charities.
Good morning. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits. This week is Charity Fraud Awareness Week, and there’s been no bigger fraud perpetrated on the charities of Australia than the appointment of a charities critic to head the charities commission.
Let's not remember just in the hours after Australia was celebrating the historic same sex marriage vote, the Coalition snuck out the fact that they were appointing Gary Johns to head the charities commission. Gary Johns is somebody who has a history as a charities critic. He’s attacked the Indigenous charity Recognise, the mental health charity Beyond Blue. He’s criticised the ability of environmental charities to advocate and called for the repeal of the Charities Act 2013, which would throw Australian charities law back to the 1600s.
Under this government, we've seen an ongoing war on charities - attacks on environmental charities, social services charities, legal charities working to help the most vulnerable. We've seen from the Coalition six different ministers responsible for the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. We've seen this prompt two open letters to the Prime Minister from the sector, complaining about the way in which they've been treated.
The appointment of Gary Johns is just another sign that charities are under fire from the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government, a government which is much more concerned with shutting down its critics than making sure Australia's great charities and not for profits can make the contribution to Australian public life they want to make.
Under Labor, we’ve got the first frontbench position dedicated to Charities and Not-for-Profits, reflecting our strong commitment to the sector. We want to make sure the Charities Commission becomes a one stop shop for charities, reducing their paperwork burden, and we want to fix fundraising. Next week, my Senate colleague Catryna Bilyk will be starting hearings on her inquiry as to how we can bring our fundraising laws into the 21st century.
Labor wants to help charities. The Coalition are pursuing a war on charities.
Any questions? Thanks.
Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra