Charity commissioner’s comments reflect an out-of-touch government - Media Release


Labor is saddened by the most recent comments by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits commissioner Gary Johns.

The revelations have come last night in evidence before Senate Estimates, where the Commissioner publicly confirmed he still holds troubling views about charities, welfare recipients and indigenous mothers.

SENATOR MCALLISTER: Dr Johns, you've previously argued that people on government allowances should be required to take contraception. You've described Indigenous mothers as cash cows, attacked Indigenous charities and criticised Beyondblue. Have you done anything to dispel any perception of bias that might have arisen from those previous public comments?

JOHNS: No and I don't need to as the commissioner.

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'Evil happens in the darkness when we turn our backs' - Speech, Federation Chamber


National apologies are a point for a country to look at its past through the harsh eye of the present, and to own up to the wrongdoings of current or past generations. We think of the moment when Britain apologised for the killing of protesters on Bloody Sunday, when the United States apologised for its internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, when the Papacy apologised for the persecution of Galileo, when Japan apologised for its treatment of comfort women and, of course, when Australia apologised for the treatment of the stolen generations.

These are not a moment in which the hurt goes away and in which all the harm is suddenly absolved by dint of an apology, but they are crucial moments for a nation to own up to its past and to say, 'We did the wrong thing and we will endeavour to do better in the future.' That's what this House is doing with this apology today to the victims of childhood sexual abuse by institutions.

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Coalition pursuing a war on charities - Transcript, Doorstop





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.

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It's time to crack down on phoenix activity in Australia - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

It's time to crack down on phoenix activity in Australia

The Canberra Times, 24 October 2018

When Megan was seven years old, her dad lost his job.

The factory where he worked closed and his full time job suddenly vanished, along with any payouts he may have been entitled to.

Megan told me that she loved her childhood with her father. Not having to work meant he could walk her to school every day and help her organise her toys.

To her, there was nothing wrong – but it was a different story for her parents.

Looking back as an adult, Megan realised the walks to and from school were because her family could no longer afford the petrol. They weren’t helping her organise her toys for pleasure - it was a way to sell some to pay household bills.

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Coalition uncooperative over cooperatives and mutuals reforms - Media Release


Almost two years after Labor unveiled our policy on the co-operative and mutual sector, and almost a year after the Coalition said they would back the reforms, the Morrison Government is still yet to draft all the necessary legislation.

In November 2016, we announced that a Shorten Labor Government would amend the Corporations Act to define mutual enterprises and implement reforms to facilitate new financial instruments for member-owned firms such as credit unions, building societies, insurance providers, and mutuals such as motoring societies.

Labor’s cooperatives and mutuals reforms will promote ethical competition and productivity, as well as encouraging social investment and the well-being of workers and small businesses.

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Maths fun factor is highly probable - Op Ed, The Chronicle

Maths fun factor is highly probable

The Chronicle, 23 October 2018

‘Maths explains why a sunflower’s seeds spiral in the way they do, maths explains the sprawling shape of a river delta meeting the ocean, and maths explains why bees around the world build their honeycombs in such a perfectly hexagonal arrangement.’

Eddie Woo has been called the Kim Kardashian of Australian maths teaching. With more than 400,000 followers to his ‘WooTube’ channel, he specialises in making maths fun.

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Scott Morrison, Australia's angry dad - Transcript, Sky News Agenda





SUBJECTS: The Coalition loss in Wentworth, New Zealand resettlement offer, Kevin Rudd.

KIERAN GILBERT: Let's bring in now the shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh and Andrew it has been a long time coming, this apology, and of course I guess the process started under Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It's a really important moment, Kieran, for the survivors to be told ‘we believe you’ and to hopefully begin that process of healing. But we will be judged not just by our words, but also on our actions, and it is vital that we implement the findings of the Royal Commission in full.

LAURA JAYES: Andrew Leigh, can I ask you about the results out of Wentworth now? Are there any lessons for Labor here because I note that your primary vote was only around the 9,000 mark - the Greens were only 2,000 behind.

LEIGH: Labor voters were following the strategy that Scott Morrison outlined for them in his press conferences the week before the by-election. He said it was important that Labor didn't come third because that'd give Kerryn Phelps the best chance of winning. Labor voters heard that message and many of them would have put Kerryn Phelps ahead of Tim Murray in order to make sure that the conservatives for the first time since Federation didn't hold this seat.

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The war on charities rages on - Speech, House of Representatives


I move the second reading amendment circulated in my name:

That all the words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:

(1) notes that the Coalition Government has had six Ministers responsible for charities over the last five years; and

(2) expresses its disapproval of the appointment of prominent anti-charity advocate Gary Johns as chair of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission”.

Labor will be supporting this bill in the House. Schedule 1 of the bill makes a number of technical refinements to the income tax law so that the new tax system for managed investment trusts operates as intended. Following recommendations made by the Board of Taxation in its report on the review of tax arrangements applying to managed investment trusts in 2016, the new tax system for attributed, managed investment trusts was enacted. Labor supported that legislation. The new tax system was designed to increase certainty, provide flexibility, reduce compliance costs for managed investment trusts and improve the competitiveness of Australia's fund management industry.

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Remembering Peter Norman - Speech, House of Representatives


Fifty years ago today, a young Australian did two extraordinary things. At the Mexico City Olympics, Peter Norman won silver in the 200 metres with a time of 20.06 seconds. In the half century since, no Australian has run faster. It is still our national record. But the best was yet to come. As he walked out to the medal ceremony with Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the two African American runners told him they planned to bow their heads and put their fists in the air in support of human rights.

When Carlos revealed their plans he said, 'I expected to see fear in Norman's eyes, but instead I saw love.' Peter Norman told the two athletes, 'I'll stand with you.' He borrowed an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge and pinned it on his chest. The famous photograph shows Peter Norman standing silently alongside the two athletes giving the Black Power salute. When he returned to Australia, Peter Norman should have been treated as a hero for racial equality, but he wasn't. He wasn't highlighted in the 2000 Sydney Olympics' opening ceremony. When he died in 2006, Smith and Carlos were among his pallbearers.

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Parliament is a place on htraE - Speech, House of Representatives


In DC Comics in the 1960s there was a fictional place called htraE which was the home of Bizarro World, a place in which everything was backwards. It feels like we are in Bizarro World today, as we look at a government behaving like an opposition and an opposition behaving like a government.

Over the course of the last five years Labor have been stable under the excellent leadership of Bill Shorten, the member for Maribyrnong, and we have been producing a suite of important economic policies that will take us to the next election as the most policy-focussed opposition in a generation.

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