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

11:13 am

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you. There was quite a bit of debate during the Senate inquiry and out there in not-for-profit land about the governance standards. I am very pleased about the amendments that are planned for the way in which the regulation process will operate. They do not go as far as we would like, which is that we wanted the process in the legislation. As I articulated during my second reading contribution, I understand the reasons that cannot happen in terms of time frame, because it is a very complex issue. These are critical parts of the functioning of this act, and I am particularly pleased that the section that gave the commissioner the power to direct an entity to act or not act in a specific manner has been taken out, because that went to the very heart of the independence of the sector.

I have a couple of questions about the consultation process. That is an area to which we paid particular attention, and another amendment that I am particularly pleased to see is the inclusion of the consultation process and, further, the inclusion of the commissioner's role in the consultation process. I would just like to tease out here, and get a confirmation of, who will actually be the lead in the consultation process over the government's standards. Will it be the commissioner? Will it be the Treasurer or the minister? I understand it to be the minister. I do understand the process and that the minister is the final decision maker. But from our perspective it is important that the commission takes a very active role in this consultation process. That is the clear message that I have received from the sector. They want to be dealing with the commission; that is why they support a commission, because they see the commission as the body that will now be helping to look after them and helping them to enhance their vibrancy and their independence.


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