Silencing Australians: The result of the Federal Government's proposed overseas donations ban

CCA joined a delegation of charity leaders at Parliament House, urging parliamentarians to oppose any legislation that would restrict overseas philanthropic donations supporting the work of Australian charities.  


Media Q & A following the release of the Joint Statement.

David Crosbie, CCA; Hugh de Krestner, HRLC and Sally Moyle, CARE Australia talk to the imporrtance of advocacy and international philanthropy, and why they should be exempt from any ban on overseas donations


Media Coverage:



Green groups and charities could be collateral damage in Government's foreign donations ban, The Conversation, 6 December

Tim Costello on RN Breakfast, 6 December

Charities and research groups concerned about foreign interference crackdown, ABC Radio, The World Today, 6 December

Foreign Donations Ban Confirms Charities 'Worst Fears', Pro Bono News, 6 December 2017

'Chilling effect': Charities slam foreign donations ban, SMH, The Age, 5 December 2017

Charities and activist groups slam Commonwealth ban on foreign donations, ABC Radio, PM, 5 December 2017

Smothering charities: the plot to keep critics quiet next election, SMH, The Age, 30 November 2017

Charity coaltion hits back over election advocacy restrictions, The Guardian, 27 November 2017

Charities worried about foreign crackdown, The Telegraph and News Ltd, 27 November 2017

Government Called on to Stop the War on Charities, Pro Bono News

Australians Want to Hear the Voices of Charities - Politicians Take Note, Pro Bono News

CCA Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, September 2017


Hands Off Our Charities, Add your voice - sign the petition.



Australian charities are united in opposing the Federal Government's attempt to undermine the benefits many Australians receive from philanthropy and to silence their voices. Among a range of worrying impacts, the proposed legislation would limit funding for life-saving medical research; access to education; the voice and rights of Indigenous Australians; and the ability to sustain and protect our shared natural environment. Unless common sense prevails, legislation targeting foreign donations to political parties will ban charities that receive international philanthropy from being able to advocate for Australians; for those in need in our region; and on global issues which Australians care about. There is a categorical difference between donations to political parties and philanthropy for charitable purposes and it would damage the functioning of our democracy if there is failure to recognise this.

The public is behind charities

The Federal Government’s proposed ban on charities receiving overseas donations is out of step with public opinion. Australians overwhelmingly (76%) support charities having a public voice on issues they were established to address and a majority (55%) believe that imposing restrictions on the ability of charities to advocate would result in a silencing of Australians and undermining our democratic principles.

International philanthropy supports Australian giving

International philanthropy to Australia boosts the impact of domestic giving in alleviating hardship, gives voice to those who may otherwise be ignored, and contributes to a brighter future for many Australians. This is a time in which we should be working together to maximise international philanthropy in Australia, not restrict or ban it.

Advocacy is vital for addressing the causes of social and environmental challenges

Advocacy by charities is often the only way people can be heard and hold politicians to account for decisions that impact their lives. It is a legitimate and legal activity, crucial in tackling the causes of social and environmental challenges, rather than just their symptoms. Advocacy has made Australia a better and fairer place to live. Together, Australian charities call on the parliament to exempt registered charities from this legislation; to preserve international philanthropy for Australia, and; to protect charities’ ability to stand up for the interests of communities and the issues they care about. 

View full release and signatories:

Joint Statement - Parliament House, Canberra, 27 November 2017  



Why does advocacy by charities and international philanthropy to support advocacy matter?  

Case studies from the Pew Charitable Trust and Results Australia