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External conduct standards for charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

The submission to Treasury in relation to the draft External Conduct Standards for charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) was prepared by the Charities and Non-for-profit Committee of the Legal Practice Section.

The Committee recognises the importance of the issues raised for consideration by the Standards. The Committee submits that the Standards should be considered in context, and that the relevant context appears to the Committee as follows (listed in no particular order):

(a) The Full Federal Court decision in Commissioner of Taxation v Hunger Project Australia [2014] FCAFC 69 (Hunger Project decision), which has meant an increased number of Australian tax-deductible charities are operating overseas.

(b) The disparity in the level of regulation between different types of not-for-profits that operate overseas – e.g. Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme (OAGDS) organisations and Public Benevolent Institutions (PBI).

(c) Public concern about terrorism, and what appears to be an increasing prevalence of terrorist attacks world-wide. Similarly, concern about moneylaundering, human trafficking, sexual offences against children, modern slavery and trafficking in individuals and debt bondage, people smuggling and bribery.

(d) Community expectations that not-for-profits will ensure that children and other vulnerable people within their care are safe.

You can read the full submission below.

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