The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of David Bradbury

David Bradbury

Assistant Treasurer, Minister Assisting for Financial Services & Superannuation and Minister for Competition Policy & Consumer Affairs

5 March 2012 - 18 September 2013

Media Release of 24/04/2013

NO.056

Coalition Plan for Charities: Slash Your Funding and Give Up on Smarter Regulation

Joint Media Release
Senator Penny Wong
Minister for Finance and Deregulation
and
Mark Butler MP
Minister for Social Inclusion
and
David Bradbury MP
Assistant Treasurer
Minister Assisting for Deregulation

The Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services, Kevin Andrews MP, has confirmed drastic funding cuts and a stop to planned streamlined national regulation for Australian charities under an Abbott Government.

This comes just a few days after Tony Abbott's then-Director of Policy threatened to "cut the throat" of a prominent indigenous education charity if the Coalition were to win government.

In a speech yesterday to the right-wing think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies, Mr Andrews is reported as saying that:

Charities in Britain had morphed into "quasi government organisations" with more than 25,000 charities in the Britain receiving more than three-quarters of their funding from governments.

There is a danger that government can seduce community groups into becoming its mouthpiece.

When the civil sector accepts this arrangement, it effectively has lost its independence.

(Source: AAP)

"It's a bit rich for Kevin Andrews to talk about the independence of Australia's not-for-profit sector, given it is the Liberal Party which uses gag clauses to silence the sector," said the Minister for Social Inclusion, Mark Butler MP.

"Kevin Andrew's misguided logic is that slashing the sector's funding is the best way to protect their independence, when this only undermines the valuable work they do in communities every day right across Australia."

In contrast, the Gillard Government supports a strong, independent and innovative NFP sector, and is introducing legislation to ban the use of gag clauses in federal government contracts.

Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong, said that in 2008 Labor removed all gag clauses from federal government contracts imposed by the Howard Government.

"We don't believe in silencing those who advocate on behalf of the community and those most in need," Senator Wong said.

"We respect the NFP sector, and want to ensure that they can continue to engage in important policy debates that have an impact on the Australian community."

"In Queensland we see Premier Newman making savage cuts to health, education and services, and then silencing those who would speak out," Senator Wong said.

The Gillard Government has also established Australia's first independent regulator for charities, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), to provide a streamlined national approach to charities regulation, a reform under threat if Tony Abbott is elected.

"The NFP sector has long advocated for an independent regulator, but the Coalition wants to turn back the clock and make the Australian Taxation Office the de facto charities regulator once again," said Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury MP.

"The Coalition puts these important reforms in the too hard basket because they clearly have no interest in supporting the growth of the NFP sector into the future."

24 April 2013