The proposed reforms would mean not-for-profits could be prosecuted for offences their members are simply suspected of committing.
The charity commissioner has more power than the Australian Securities and Investments Commission commissioner and the commissioner of taxation and, if proposed reforms are passed, will soon be able to penalise charities if their members are suspected of committing minor offences (such as not moving on when directed by police, or trespassing) even if they’re never charged.
It’s been deemed an unconstitutional overreach by many in the sector, as well as unnecessary: in Senate estimates it was revealed only two “activist” charities lost their charity status for breaking the law, yet 59,000 charities will be affected by the reforms.
It’s a strange U-turn from a government that before coming into power advocated against the sector’s regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), and its wide-reaching powers.
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