An investigation into the charity status of Melbourne’s peak body for Catholic schools is being slammed by both sides of politics, with Labor leader Bill Shorten and former prime minister Tony Abbott attacking the “disturbing” action taken by the charities regulator.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) announced on Sunday it was undertaking an investigation into Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM), regarding concerns the charity could have a disqualifying purpose.
The announcement came after The Weekend Australian revealed that CEM was under investigation for commissioning robocalls and leaflets criticising the Turnbull government’s schools funding policy during the Batman by-election.
CEM had backed a computer-generated phone call to voters which criticised the Turnbull government and the Greens’ school funding policies, while stating that Labor would restore funding cuts.
The robocall ended by saying “the future of our schools depends on who you support”.
Under current charity laws, it was a disqualifying purpose for a charity to have “the purpose of promoting or opposing a political party or a candidate for political office”.
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