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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9280

Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (12:03): The previous speaker spoke about dysfunctional government. I have to say that Australia now has the most dysfunctional government it has ever had in its history. The Abbott government cannot even get its budget through the parliament, four months after the budget was brought down. It is still the No. 1 talking point in the community, in the electorate I represent, because it is so unfair, because it is cruel and because it failed to consult. That is really relevant in relation to this motion before the House. The member's motion notes very strongly the failure of this government to consult. When the previous government introduced a bill into this House, and it was passed through the House, the bill went through a very long consultation process. It established external reviews, parliamentary committees, issues and discussion papers exposure drafts and consultation with experts. It has been operating very efficiently. I can say that I have had only support for it within my electorate. As recently as the week before last I had an organisation come to me to talk about problems that existed. I will be sending a referral off to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Hopefully they will get a chance to look at it, because it is a really important issue.

It is also interesting to note that four out of five charities support keeping the ACNC, while only six per cent support the position of those on the other side of the House. These are charities like Lifeline, Save the Children, the Myer Foundation, Sane Australia, Youth Off the Street, RSPCA, World Vision and the Australian Conservation Foundation. These organisations are all very influential and have contributed an enormous amount to Australia over the years. But, instead of that, this government is going to repeal the legislation and a commission that is working so effectively in the community. Their repeal of this legislation will take us back to where we have come from.

Charities incorporated as companies limited by guarantee want the arrangement to ensure they do not have to go back to annual reporting to both ASIC and the ACNC. The arrangements to report once only have been put in place. That is good news. That is cutting red tape. This government wants to bring back red tape. Certain philanthropic funds did not want their details published. In this way they could avoid unsolicited requests. The commissioner has exercised her discretion to ensure that nondisclosure of key information can occur. These are all really important points for companies working in the not-for-profit sector. The result is that key beneficiaries of the repeal of the ACNC are really only those organisations that do not want independent public accountability or transparency, which the ACNC delivers and the Australian community benefits from.

I believe this is a really important issue. It is an issue that goes to the heart of accountability and transparency. It is an issue that really is about the government listening to those organisations that are actually affected by the ACNC or are listening to big business or the big end of town. They are taking notice of the big end to town, as opposed to those organisations, like World Vision and Lifeline, who are working on a day to day basis in our community delivering real solutions to real people. I really believe this government stands condemned for its intention to get rid of the ACNC, and it really demonstrates just what a dysfunctional government they are. (Time expired)