Fundraising reform – Select Committee on Charitable Fundraising Compliance Regimes

Senator Chisholm on 10 May 2018 gave notice that he intends to move the following motion for the establishment of a Select Committee on Charitable Fundraising Compliance Regimes on the next sitting day of the Senate (emphasis added). This announcement is welcomed as an enabling step in fundraising law reform in Australia.

(1)   That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Charitable Fundraising Compliance Regimes, be established to inquire into and report on the current framework of fundraising regulation for charities and options for reform, with particular reference to:

(a)   whether the current framework of fundraising regulation creates unnecessary problems for charities and organisations who rely on donations from Australian supporters;

(b)   whether current fundraising laws meet the objectives that guided the decision to regulate donations;

(c)   whether current fundraising compliance regimes allow charities to cultivate donor activity and make optimal use of resources donors provide;

(d)   the loss in productivity for the thousands of charities who try to meet the requirements of the seven different fundraising regimes;

(e)   whether the current frameworks for investigation and enforcement are the best model for the contemporary fundraising environment;

                  (f)   how Federal, State and Territory Governments could work together to provide charities with a nationally-consistent, contemporary and fit-for-purpose fundraising regime;

(g)   the appropriate donor-focused expectations and requirements that should govern fundraising regulation in the 21st century;

(h)   how the Australian consumer law should apply to not-for-profit fundraising activities;

(i)   what are the best mechanisms to regulate third party fundraisers and to ensure the culture of third party fundraisers matches community perceptions of the clients they work with;

(j)   whether a harmonised, contemporary fundraising regime could help in addressing concerns about the potential influence of foreign money on civil society and political debate in Australia;

(k)   the cost to the charity and not-for-profit sector, and the communities they serve, of postponing fundraising reform; and

(l)   any other related matters.

(2)   That the committee present its final report on or before the first sitting Thursday in October 2018.

(3)   That the committee consist of six senators, as follows:

(a)   two nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate;

(b)   two nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate;

(c)   one nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens; and

(d)   one nominated by minor party and independent senators.

(4)   That:

(a)   participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator; and

(b)   participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee.

(5)   That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(6)   That the committee elect as chair one of the members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and as deputy chair the member nominated by minor party and independent senators.

(7)   That the deputy chair shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(8)   That, in the event of an equality of voting, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(9)   That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(10)   That the committee has power to appoint subcommittees consisting of three or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(11)   That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President of the Senate.

(12)   That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public. (general business notice of motion no. 828 )


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