Senate disallows heavy-handed anti-charity regulations

Frieda Lee, 25th November 2021

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.

The CBAA is a member of the Hands Off Our Charities (HOOC) alliance of more than 100 of the nation’s most respected charities. HOOC has been resisting the Government’s attempt to grant the Federal Charities Commissioner the power to investigate and deregister charities on a whim.

Today, a crossbench disallowance motion put forward by South Australian Senator Rex Patrick was successful in the Senate, effectively stopping the Government’s proposal in its tracks.

An independent report commissioned by HOOC found that the new burdensome regulation would have cost the sector up to $150 million in additional administration costs to charities and not-for-profits in the first year alone.

HOOC Spokesperson Ray Yoshida says that charities across the country will breathe a sigh of relief today.

“Despite the Government’s efforts to silence those who speak up, the crossbench parties and the Federal Opposition saw major warning signs in Minister Sukkar’s proposals and stood shoulder-to-shoulder to stop it.” Mr Yoshida said.

“This incredible result means that more than $150 million that would have been spent on administration costs can now be diverted back into essential services such as emergency food relief, family violence and mental health support,” Mr Yoshida said.

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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.


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 CBAA alongside major charities including Amnesty, Anglicare Australia, Brotherhood of St Laurence, CARE Australia, Oxfam and UnitingCare Australia have taken out a full page ad in The Australian calling on the Prime Minister to immediately abandon proposed regulations that target them with deregistration for speaking out on behalf of their communities.