Protecting workers from illegal activity

Australian Treasury

Australia’s 58,000 registered charities hold a special place in our community because of the vital work they do and in turn receive special status.

The Morrison Government is strengthening laws to ensure activist organisations, masquerading as charities, that promote and engage in unlawful behaviour will no longer be tolerated.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the promotion and condoning of illegal activity diminishes Australians’ trust in the charities sector and puts workers jobs at risk.

“The Morrison Government strongly supports the right to peacefully protest and engage in political discourse as key pillars of our democracy,” Minister Sukkar said.

“However, political activists and organisations condoning and participating in criminal activities, while masquerading as charities, undermine Australians’ trust in the sector overall and do not deserve this privilege.”

“There is nothing charitable about assault, late night break ins, threatening behaviour and illegal blockades.”

“Australians subsidise charities through tax concessions, with the expectation that donated money goes to charitable works, not the promotion of and participation in criminal activities.”

Member for Braddon Gavin Pearce said too many North West Tasmanian workers have been affected by illegal activities that threaten their jobs.

“The North West has a proud tradition of many local charities performing outstanding acts of kindness when our community needs it most,” Mr Pearce said.

“However, all too often local workers are impacted by the illegal and threatening behaviour of the minority who seek to hide behind the legitimacy of a charity to push their agenda.”

“Workers in the North West should be allowed to go about their lawful work, free from harassment and acts that threaten their jobs,” Mr Pearce said.

At present the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner has enforcement powers to revoke an organisation’s charity status. Under current rules, charities are prohibited from engaging in conduct that may be dealt with either as an indictable offence under Australian law.

The reforms ensure charities are prohibited from engaging in or promoting theft, vandalism, trespass or assault and threatening behaviour.

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