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Sensible Amendments to Electoral Disclosures Welcomed by Philanthropy Australia

September 27th, 2018

Philanthropy Australia supports the latest draft amendments to The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017, recently released by the Government.

After much activity from and engagement with many parts of the community, comprehensive and well targeted changes have been proposed, which respond to the serious concerns raised about the Bill earlier this year, including by Philanthropy Australia.

Philanthropy Australia believes that the amendments address our key concerns, namely:

The definition of political expenditure - this is the key improvement, with a clearer and narrower definition of ‘electoral expenditure’ replacing the definition of ‘political expenditure’. The new definition is rightly focused on actual electioneering and activities which influence the way people vote. It does not risk capturing issues based policy advocacy in the same way that ‘political expenditure’ does.
Penalties – introducing more proportionate and reasonable penalties for breaches of the Bill
Compliance obligations – various changes have been made which will reduce the compliance obligations imposed by the Bill

Philanthropy Australia acknowledges and affirms the hard work of its members and colleagues across the not-for-profit sector who have advocated for improvements to this Bill. We thank the Government, Opposition, other elected representatives and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for their efforts to communicate and seek feedback from stakeholders over recent months.

The proposed amendments are currently the subject of a short Parliamentary Committee Inquiry, and Philanthropy Australia has today lodged a submission to that Inquiry which raises a number of relatively minor matters which we believe still need to be addressed.

Overall we are pleased with the progress which has been made so far, and we will be able to support an amended version of the Bill provided these minor matters are addressed.

-ENDS-

About Philanthropy Australia: As the peak body for giving, Philanthropy Australia uses the collective voice of the hundreds of funders, social investors, for-purpose organisations and change agents that comprise its membership community to advocate for policy and regulatory environments that enable more philanthropy with impact in Australia.

Media contact: Avril Redmond aredmond@philanthropy.org.au 0410166266

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