Morrison Government put on notice - nation is watching as senate votes to disallow charity attack

Amy Leiper, 17th October 2021

A united coalition of more than 100 of the nation’s top charities and not-for-profits are warning the Morrison Government that the eyes of the nation will be watching them this week as the Senate considers disallowing a damaging anti-charity regulation.

From Monday, the Senate will vote to disallow the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Regulations 2021, which blatantly attacks the free speech of charities.

The regulation grants the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission power to investigate and deregister any group for minor offences committed not just by the charity in question but by other individuals or entities that are only loosely connected with the charity. Hands Off Our Charities (HOOC) spokesperson Ray Yoshida described it as an unwarranted burden on charities that impacts people from right across the socio-economic spectrum.

“Collectively, our organisations represent, support and work with millions of Australians and they will be watching Parliament this week to see where their Senators stand on this vital issue,” Mr Yoshida said.

“This regulation doesn’t just silence Christian groups, or women’s groups, or environmental groups – it silences everyone.” Last week, an independent report found that the Morrison Government’s regulation, if not rolled back, would hit charities by up to $150 million in burdensome red tape, which would directly hit service delivery.

“The Morrison Government will strip away funds earmarked for vulnerable people including for emergency food relief, family violence support and mental health assistance through the compliance costs of this regulation,” Mr Yoshida said.

“During COVID, these organisations have been there when no one else would answer the call. If our members are forced to shutter because of this regulation, it will directly affect those most in need.”

A recent report by a Liberal chaired Senate oversight committee examining this new anti-charity regulation presented further proof that it goes too far and should be disallowed. CEO of The Fred Hollows Foundation Ian Wishart said the consequences to charities would be stark.

“These regulations are anathema to Australia’s democracy and the key role that charities like The Fred Hollows Foundation play in advocating for those who don’t have a voice,” Mr Wishart said.

“We welcomed the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation’s recommendation to disallow the regulations, and we now call on the Prime Minister and his Senators to stand up and do the same.”

CEO of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, Jon Bisset, spoke of the “vital role that over 450 not for profit and charity community radio stations play in reporting local news and events, and covering underreported issues.”

“These community radio stations are supported by 22,000 volunteers. In a time when local information and news has never been more important, our members are concerned that the regulations will have unforeseen consequences and impact their political reporting and community role. We urge the Senate to support a disallowance motion to protect our media.”

“It’s unbelievable this close to a Federal election, the Government would want to attack Australian charities and not-for-profits,” Mr Yoshida said.

MEDIA |  Hands Off Our Charities | Marcus Middleton 0439 350 69

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The CBAA welcomes news that changes to governance standard three of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Regulation 2013 have been disallowed by a vote in the Senate today. The changes would have placed charities at risk of being de-registered by the Charities Commissioner, even if they have not broken any laws.


Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has written to Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar on behalf of the Senate Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation to express its concerns about the Morrison Government’s proposed changes to charities regulations.


The Community Council for Australia, which the CBAA is a member of, has commended the Morrison Government on their re-election, welcomed their commitment to fundraising reform, and called for more certainty and support across the charities sector.