LABOR STANDS WITH AUSTRALIA’S CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS


March 14, 2018

Charities and not-for-profits in the electorate of Wills are under attack from Malcolm Turnbull and his conservative government.

Under the guise of donations reform, Malcolm Turnbull wants to hurt Australian charities and limit their capacity to do their important work.

While Labor supports a ban on foreign donations, we do not want to see our charities and not-for-profits hurt by a government intent on stifling debate.

It is clear that many charitable and not-for-profit organisations in Wills will be prevented from advocating for a more fair and just Australia if this legislation goes through in its current form.

That would be bad for democracy.

As your local member, I will not let the government silence organisations in Wills seeking to make legitimate contributions to our nation’s political debate. I have written to all charities and not for profit organisations in my electorate to reaffirm our position and continue our engagement and support for them this critical time for the charity and not for profit sector.

I am proud of Labor’s history of support for the community and not-for-profit sectors.

Since the last election, Labor has engaged with more than 1000 charities across the country to learn how best to help them in their work to strengthen Australian communities, including the work they do here in Wills.

Many organisations have told us they are finding it harder and harder to be heard by the federal government.

I want to be absolutely clear that Labor will fight Malcolm Turnbull’s attack on Australia’s charities.

Labor worked with charities to fight off the government’s attempt to axe the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and opposed the appointment of a long-time critic of charities as commissioner.

The government has placed gag clauses on charities who receive social services grants, and pushed plans to restrict the advocacy work of environmental charities.

In the face of a government Bill that has charities anxious about their ability to participate in public debate, we have worked closely and constructively with the sector to learn how to protect their vital contributions to civil society.

The Government believes charities should be seen but not heard. They can run a soup kitchen but not talk about the causes of poverty. They can plant trees but shouldn’t talk about deforestation. They can support Indigenous communities but mustn’t talk about Indigenous disadvantage.

In contrast, Labor is continuing our long-standing engagement with representatives of charities and not-for-profits sector and listening to their concerns about the possible impact of the Government’s draft laws on their work.

Labor is committed to sensible reform on foreign donations and will work to achieve this goal without stifling the important independent voices of charities and their contributions to Australian civil society.

Australians want charities to have a voice and they want a government that knows when to listen. The Turnbull government needs to stop its war on charities and give up trying to silence community voices.