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 28/06/2013

NO.124

A statutory definition of charity for Australia

Joint media release with
Mark Butler MP
Minister for Social Inclusion

Historic legislation to introduce a statutory definition of charity passed the Parliament yesterday evening, said Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury.

"Review after review has recommended a statutory definition of charity, and now the time has come for this sensible and widely supported reform to become a reality.

"Finally Australia has legislation which will provide more certainty and clarity about the meaning of charity and charitable purpose and will make the definition easier to understand.

"The Australian Government recognises the significant contribution of the not-for-profit (NFP) sector to the development of the definition and thanks all stakeholders for their valuable input."

The meaning of charity and charitable purpose has largely been administered on the basis of principles going all the way back to the Statute of Elizabeth of 1601.

The definition aims to preserve common law principles, with some minor variations. It is informed by the 2001 Inquiry into the Definition of Charities and Related Organisations, which identified principles underlying the common law.

It also takes into account the findings of more recent judicial decisions that further clarify the meaning of charity, including the Aid/Watch decision, which extended charities' ability to advance public debate.

"The Australian Government has a wide-ranging NFP sector reform agenda, which focuses on supporting a strong, vibrant, diverse and independent sector," said the Minister for Social Inclusion Mark Butler.

"We've established Australia's first independent charities regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, which commenced in December last year and will be the primary administrator of the definition.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the NFP sector to deliver reforms that will strengthen and support the sector."

The statutory definition of charity will commence on 1 January 2014.

28 June 2013