Finance Minister Mathias Cormann believes excluding charities from a foreign donations ban would “make such a ban entirely ineffective”, despite Labor leader Bill Shorten’s assertion that reform can occur without “silencing” the charity sector.
Cormann referred The Election Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill – which aims to ban foreign donations and requires registration and disclosure requirements for a broader group of non-party political actors than is currently the case – to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters on 6 December.
The charity sector has responded to the inquiry with concerns that the proposed legislation will unfairly curtail the ability for charities to advocate and impose unnecessary red-tape on these organisations.
In parliamentary question time on Monday, Labor leader Bill Shorten asked why “the good work of Australian charities [was] being put at risk because of the prime minister’s inept handling of foreign donation laws”.
This followed comments from Shorten on Sunday, which indicated that Labor would not support laws that silence charities.
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