ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
SENATOR CATRYNA BILYK
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
SENATE SETS DEADLINE FOR SESELJA
The Morrison Government has less than a week to produce its overdue response to a Senate inquiry, which recommended the swift harmonisation of Australia’s outdated charity fundraising laws.
After more than nine months of waiting, Assistant Minister for Charities Senator Zed Seselja now has until Monday to front the Senate, table the Morrison Government’s response and explain the delay in responding.
The Senate, in passing a resolution today, also called on the Morrison Government to work urgently with the states and territories to harmonise Australia’s charity fundraising laws.
Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities Andrew Leigh said the Morrison Government has been dragging its feet for too long on charity fundraising law reform.
“It has been more than eighteen months since the five-year Review of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) was delivered to Government, and more than nine months since the Senate Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century tabled its report,” Dr Leigh said.
“The Government has failed to respond to either. In the meantime charities are struggling with a paperwork burden which is costing them $15 million a year—money that should be going towards the social and environmental causes for which these charities were established.
“This is not just a number on a page - it means real people are getting less help. Right now, there are charities supporting communities devastated by drought and bushfires, and helping out families who are struggling to get by who have less to work with because Scott Morrison and his charities minister are dragging their feet.”
Labor Senator Catryna Bilyk, who chaired the Senate Committee and its inquiry, said the Minister could no longer hide from his lack of action on charity fundraising law reform.
“While the Morrison Government is regularly late in responding to committee reports, the charity fundraising inquiry’s report had only two recommendations. What possible excuse could they have for their response being more than six months overdue?” Senator Bilyk said.
“I am looking forward to the Minister’s explanation and I hope he can also explain why the Morrison Government has done nothing to progress the harmonisation of charity fundraising laws.
“The Government’s failure to put this issue on the agenda of the most recent annual Consumer Affairs Forum shows that they are not serious about taking action on this issue.”
Harmonising charity fundraising law requires national leadership, and this government is missing in action.
Labor will not accept any more excuses or delays. Every month the Morrison Government fails to act is costing Australia’s charities and their donors more than $1 million.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.