New regulations have been introduced which will expand the types of offences for which charities could be deregistered. The new regulations will empower the Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission (ACNC) to investigate charities engaging in or promoting serious unlawful acts of trespass, vandalism, theft or assault and threatening behaviour. Source: Timberbiz
This will apply regardless of whether they are classified as an indictable offence or the less serious category of summary offences under state and territory laws.
The regulations will also prohibit charities from using their resources, including social media accounts, to “actively promote” others to engage in unlawful activities.
The government said the new regulations, announced on Friday after months of controversy over the proposed changes, would reinforce trust and confidence in the sector.
“Our government strongly supports the right to peaceful, lawful protest – it is one of our key democratic principles,” Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said.
“What our government does not support is activist organisations masquerading as charities.
“Tasmania’s registered charities do vital work in our communities, and these new standards will reinforce trust and confidence in the charities sector,” Senator Duniam said.
“By making these regulations, we can ensure charities that misuse and take advantage of their status to take part in or actively promote illegal activity can be stripped of tax concessions and other benefits.”
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said that the new governance standards will reinforce Australians’ trust and confidence in the charities sector.
“The 59,000 registered charities in Australia do exceptional work in our community supporting society’s most vulnerable, and their efforts are recognised through their status,” Mr Sukkar said.
“However, Australians support charities through donations and tax concessions with the expectation that a charity’s resources are directed towards charitable works. By making these regulations, the Government is ensuring charities that misuse and take advantage of their status to take part in or actively promote illegal activity can be stripped of tax concessions and other benefits.
“Charities that engage in unlawful activities infringe on the rights of law-abiding Australians conducting their business and going about their everyday lives. This undermines public trust and confidence in the charities sector.”
Charities will also be required to maintain reasonable internal controls over their resources, such as their funds, social media accounts and employees, to ensure they do not use them to actively promote others to commit offences.