Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017
The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters regarding its inquiry into on the Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill 2017 proposes:
- public registers for ‘key non-party political actors’;
- registration requirements including complicated analysis of funding and application, additional accounting management and additional non-financial matters to be reported;
- prevention of the use of donations over $250 from foreign entities to fund ‘political purposes’; and
- enforcement and compliance requirements relating to political finance regulation which significantly in the case of charities will be placed on their financial controllers.
This submission focuses on the Bill's impact on charities. Key recommendations include:
- Charities should be exempt from registration and the consequent compliance obligations.
- Activities within charitable purposes, as permitted by the Charities Act 2013 (Charities Act) and regulated by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), should not be included in the proposed electoral funding, disclosure and transparency reforms.
- The definition of ‘political purpose’ should reflect the purpose of the activity (rather than the activity per se) so as to exclude charities carrying out their charitable purposes.
- If charities are not exempted from the requirements under the Bill, further review is required to reduce the potential and unnecessary burden of the compliance obligations, for example through a proportional or scaled set of obligations.
You can read the full submission below.