Advocacy Updates

Update - Thursday 30 August 2018 

NSW Electoral Funding Act 2018

Philanthropy Australia member, the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, has prepared this guidance document to assist philanthropic funders to understand the Electoral Funding Act 2018 (NSW) and to provide a general picture of how the laws impact upon donors. It is not a substitute for legal advice on the specific circumstances of individual trusts and foundations.

For more information on the rules, check the Electoral Commission NSW website or seek independent legal advice.

This briefing note relates to:

  • NSW State Elections, not local government elections
  • Philanthropic funders who fund charities and not for profit organisations, not funders of political candidates

In this document, references to “charities” mean “doing” organisations which might undertake work to improve policies for the environment. References to “funders” or “donors” relate to philanthropic trusts, foundations and individuals which make grants to support the work of “doing” organisations.

The final section of the briefing note suggests an approach to advocacy funding, in the context of the 2019 NSW state election.

You  can download a full copy of the guidance document here: nsw-election-rule-philanthropy-briefing-august2018.

Update - Wednesday 29 August 2018

DGR Reform Submission

Overview 

Treasury is seeking submissions on the proposed design for the following components of the Government’s package of deductible gift recipient (DGR) reforms announced on 5 December 2017:

  • the requirement for non-government organisations with DGR status to register as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) from 1 July 2019
  • transition arrangements to support existing organisations with DGR status to register as a charity with the ACNC
  • the Commissioner of Taxation’s discretion to exempt organisations with DGR status from the requirement to register as a charity in limited circumstances
  • the abolition of certain public fund requirements

The Government’s package of DGR reforms will strengthen the DGR governance arrangements, reduce administrative complexity and ensure appropriate oversight of entities with DGR status.

The purpose of public consultation is to seek stakeholder views on the proposed implementation of the DGR reforms covered in the consultation paper. Submissions for this consultation will close on 11.59pm (AEST) Friday 21 September 2018.

The Australian Taxation Office and the ACNC will release guidance materials on the practical application of the proposed implementation of the DGR reforms in due course.

Philanthropy Australia will be drafting a submission on behalf of members and the draft will be ready for member feedback on Friday 14 September (one week before the submission deadline). Should you be interested in providing feedback on the submission please contact Sarah Wickham on swickham@philanthropy.org.au or you can also post your feedback on the Policy Submission section of the Better Giving Hub.

Update - Tuesday 28 August 2018

New Social Sector Ministers

Please see copy of the full Ministry here.

Update - Monday 27 August 2018

ACNC Review

Overview

The not-for-profit sector is large, diverse and makes immensely important contributions to the community.

Charities have annual revenue of $143 billion, or over 8 per cent of Australia’s GDP.  They employ more than 1.3 million people and engage 3 million Australians in volunteering their time and effort to helping others. This could increase to 6 million volunteers when the broader not for-profit sector is considered. A recent assessment identified approximately 257,000 non-profit organisations operating in Australia.

Australia’s 55,000 registered charities are regulated by the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) under the current not-for-profit regulatory framework. This framework does not extend to other not-for-profits.

Australia is well served by its charities and not-for-profit sector and with close to five years of proportionate government oversight and regulation through the ACNC, the overwhelming majority of Australian charities are considered to be well-governed, operating with sound financial management, and are worthy of the trust and confidence of the Australian community.

The Government is committed to making Australia’s not-for-profit sector stronger and recognises the crucial role the ACNC plays in ensuring the sector continues to thrive.

Purpose

The review into the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) legislation enabled the Government to meet its statutory obligation that a review of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Act 2012 be undertaken after their first five years of operation.  A report on the review’s findings and recommendations is required to be made to the Government by 3 June 2018. This report was laid before each House of the Parliament on 22 August 2018.

The final report makes 30 recommendations and has four parts:

  • Objects , Functions and Powers
  • Regulatory Framework
  • Red tape Reduction
  • Additional amendments

Outcome

You can read a copy of the full report here and all the public submission made during the review process, including Philanthropy Australia’s submission here.

Justice Connect also developed a short video clip summarising the key elements of the Review here.

Shortly we will post our analysis on the report, but from an initial read there are no concerns.

Update - Wednesday 18 April 2018

Electoral Act Changes

Krystian Seibert, Policy Adviser, updates you on the progress of the Electoral Act Changes and other Philanthropy Australia news. 

Resources

Open Letter regarding Electoral Act changes in the Australian Financial Review (1 March 2018)

Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matter report into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 (9 April 2018)

Article by Krystian Seibert in The Conversation – ‘New electoral law could still hobble charities’ (13 April 2018)

Article in The Guardian – Labor demands charities' advocacy be exempted from foreign donations ban (16 April 2018)

If Members have any questions about this advocacy update, they should contact Sarah Davies at policy@philanthropy.org.au

Update - Thursday 15 March 2018

Federal Oppostion Announcement on Dividend Imputation

As many Philanthropy Australia Members will be aware, the Federal Opposition has made an announcement regarding proposed changes to dividend imputation arrangements.

The Federal Opposition is proposing to end the refund of excess dividend imputation credits (also known as refundable franking credits).

However, income tax exempt charities (as well as income tax exempt trusts and foundations) will be permanently exempt from the change - meaning that they would still have access to refundable franking credits.

Philanthropy Australia is aware how important refundable franking credits are as a source of income for trusts and foundations, and that without access to them, the level of granting would be reduced.

We have therefore strongly made the case that existing refundable franking credit arrangements should not be changed for trusts and foundations, including raising this issue with the major parties before the last election.

Resources

If Members have any questions about this advocacy update, they should contact Krystian Seibert (03 9662 9299 or kseibert@philanthropy.org.au).

Update - Wednesday 7 March 2018

Electoral Act Changes

As many Philanthropy Australia Members will be aware, the Australian Government is proposing some very concerning changes to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, which will have major implications for charities undertaking public advocacy and for their funders.

The following short video update from Philanthropy Australia's Advocacy & Insight Manager, Krystian Seibert, outlines Philanthropy Australia's efforts to oppose these changes and highlights how Members can assist by contacting elected representatives they may have a relationship with.

Open Letter in The Australian Financial Review

Last Thursday we published an Open Letter about the Electoral Act changes in the Australian Financial Review, which can be viewed here. It was signed by 66 philanthropists and philanthropic organisations - thank you to all the signatories, the letter is a great example of our collective voice as a movement. On Friday, an opinion piece about the changes by Martyn Myer AO and Jill Reichstein OAM was also published in The Age, reinforcing the messages in the Open Letter. It can be viewed here.

Two Page Briefing for Members

Philanthropy Australia is encouraging our Members to contact elected representatives that they may have a relationship with, to convey their concerns about the changes. We've prepared a two page briefing with key information for Members to assist with this, which can be accessed here.

If Members have any questions about this advocacy update, they should contact Krystian Seibert (03 9662 9299 or kseibert@philanthropy.org.au).

Update - Monday 19 February 2018

Implications of Electoral Act Changes

Philanthropy Australia CEO, Sarah Davies, and Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre, Hugh de Kretser, discuss the implications of the proposed Electoral Act changes.

Update - Wednesday 14 February 2018

ACNC Review

The Australian Government has announced a review of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) legislation.

The following short video update from Philanthropy Australia's Advocacy & Insight Manager, Krystian Seibert, outlines Philanthropy Australia's engagement with the review, which will include preparing a draft submission and seeking input and feedback from our Members.

Resources

If Members have any questions about this advocacy update, they should contact Krystian Seibert (03 9662 9299 or kseibert@philanthropy.org.au).

Update - Wednesday 13 December 2017

The Australian Government made three announcements which impact upon philanthropy in the week of 4 December:

  • Setting out reform proposals for the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) framework

  • The introduction to legislation to ban foreign donations, which will prevent international philanthropy funding advocacy activities by charities

  • The appointment of the Hon Dr Gary Johns as the new ACNC Commissioner

The following two short video updates from Philanthropy Australia's Advocacy & Insight Manager, Krystian Seibert, outline Philanthropy Australia's  response to these announcements - Members are encouraged to view them.

Deductible Gift Recipient Reform

 

Resources

 

Foreign Donations Ban and Appointment of ACNC Commissioner

 

Resources

If Members have any questions about this advocacy update, they should contact Krystian Seibert (03 9662 9299 or kseibert@philanthropy.org.au).

How to seek funding…

Grant Seeking Series
This series of four recorded webinars is designed for anyone involved in seeking funding from philanthropic organisations – whether you are a Board member, CEO, fundraising, marketing or development officer, volunteer with a fundraising role, or an application writer. 

Get access now

Share an event

Have an event you’d like the sector to know about? Have it listed on this page!

Share an event