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Foreign Donation and Charity Law Changes ‘likely’ to face High Court Challenge

The Australian government’s proposed ban on foreign donations and new disclosure requirements for political campaigners are “likely” to face a constitutional challenge, the Human Rights Law Centre has warned.

The HRLC executive director, Hugh de Kretser, told Guardian Australia it was “actively looking at the legality of the bill” and had concluded there were “serious risks that the legislation violates Australia’s constitutional protection of freedom of political communication”.

The charity sector has warned that, under the changes, it will not be able to use international philanthropy to pay for advocacy work and will face an increased burden of red tape.

The electoral funding and disclosure reform bill requires all groups that have spent $100,000 or more on political activities in the previous four years to register as a “political campaigner”, and could capture charities because of their advocacy work.

It introduces new requirements for political campaigners to confirm that only “allowable donors” – such as Australian citizens or residents – give more than $250. Charities must keep foreign donations separate from other revenue to ensure they cannot fund political advocacy.

To view The Guardian article in full, click here.

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