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No Change to Governance Standard Relating to Compliance with Australian Laws

Federal Senators have blocked proposed laws aimed at cracking down on activist groups. The proposals would have given the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission the power to deregister charities for minor offences, even when it believed they were merely likely to occur.

South Australian independent Rex Patrick tabled a disallowance motion to comfortably defeat the changes with the support of other crossbenchers, the Labor Party, and the Greens. Senator Patrick told the Senate that the regulations “amount to a prohibition of freedom of political communication and expression, and expose charities to the risk of deregistration for actions most Australians accept as a right … such as peaceful protests and sit-ins. Quite simply, the intent of these regulations is to stop charities engaging in lawful advocacy in pursuit of their charitable purpose.”

The current Governance Standard 3 remains unchanged and still applies; and requires charities to not act in a way that, under Commonwealth, state or territory law, could be dealt with as:

  • an indictable offence (being a serious crime that is generally tried by a judge and a jury), or
  • a breach of law that has a civil (not criminal) penalty of 60 penalty units (currently $12,600) or more.

To view Governance Standard 3, click here.

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