Senate debates

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Bill 2012, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Bill 2012; In Committee

10:44 am

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

I might just indicate on behalf of the coalition that we will not be opposing those amendments, but note that this is yet another series of amendments to a bill which is fundamentally flawed. The government have been making it up as they go along. Just before, as the minister was concluding the second reading debate, he was essentially telling the Senate that what we desperately need is more red tape now so we can have some cuts to red tape sometime down the track. But of course we know that that time 'sometime down the track' would actually require some agreement from the states to effectively hand over a whole series of powers to the Commonwealth which, on present indications, is highly unlikely. These amendments, while they improve a bad bill, do not fix the fundamental core problem. What we would get with this bill is a massive new bureaucracy which would make life harder for our charitable and not-for-profit sector, impose significant additional red tape, and come on top of existing state regulatory arrangements.

Of course what the government is trying to put to the Senate is, 'Trust us, there might be this massive increase in red tape now but at some unidentified time in the future this additional red tape will help us to reduce the red tape down the track.' Based on the government's track record, we do not trust the government's assurances in relation to this. We do not trust that this massive increase in red tape will ever lead to genuine reductions in red tape. We think that, when all is said and done, this new federal bureaucracy here in Canberra, which will have its fingers in every voluntary organisation across Australia, will be there to stay, and it will come on top of all the other processes already in place at state level. In fact this is a pretty far-reaching new federal bureaucracy which will get them involved in every aspect of the charitable not-for-profit sector. So with those few remarks, I say that we will not be opposing those amendments because we do recognise that they make some slight improvements to what overall is a very bad bill. But it does not actually improve this bill sufficiently for us to be able to support the bill as a whole.


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