The charity sector is celebrating the passing of the foreign donations bill through the Senate, after the federal government amended the bill to protect charitable advocacy.
The Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill cleared the upper house on Thursday, almost 12 months on from the legislation’s introduction in December last year.
Charities led a long campaign to amend the bill – which broadened registration and disclosure requirements for non-party political actors – arguing it would stifle advocacy and impose unnecessary red-tape on these organisations.
After a parliamentary joint standing committee made a number of recommendations to improve the bill, the government amended it in September, to ensure it focused on actual electioneering rather than other forms of public advocacy by charities.
This meant non-partisan issue based advocacy would not be captured in the foreign donations ban, vastly simplifying the compliance on charities and other organisations speaking publicly about policy issues.
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