Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters - Sep 2017
The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters - Inquiry into and report on all aspects of the conduct of the 2016 Federal Election and matters related thereto – including overseas donations and the role of third parties
CCA's submission is based on a Position Paper developed in collaboration with the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and Philanthropy Australia.
CCA, ACFID and Philanthropy Australia state that charities should not be conflated with other “third parties” or treated as “political actors”. Charities are bound by charities law to ensure that their activities serve their charitable purpose, that they do not have a disqualifying political purpose, and that they abstain from party politics.
Given the very different legal circumstances within which charities operate, and their more limited capacity to contribute to electoral outcomes, charities should not be included in any ban on foreign donations. International philanthropic funding is an important part of man y charities’ annual budgets and enables them to deliver their public good. Imposing further restrictions on charities would restrict the voice of communities, and hinder the operation of our democracy. We therefore propose that Australian charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission be exempt from any legislation that bans receiving overseas philanthropy.
CCA's full submission is available here.