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

11:31 am

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

During the inquiry—as I am sure many on that side of the chamber will be aware—various opportunities were looked at for red tape reduction. One of the proposals that was traversed was item 10 in schedule 1 of the transition bill, which states 'The Commissioner may treat a statement, report or other document given … to an Australian government agency' as being an information statement for a financial year or an annual financial report. During the inquiry process the Bishops' Council suggested that the government should amend the statement to read, 'The Commissioner will…' and argued that this arrangement would protect organisations from unnecessary duplication as a result of the ACNC registration until other arrangements can be resolved.

We agree, and the government responded to that. I partly accept the government's concern that taking this step to amend the text of the bill to replace 'may' with 'will' could have unintended consequences. But for all government departments there is no reason this could not be used as a standard until other arrangements are instituted, or put in place for a short-term process to see how it could operate.

Could the minister explain how the process of helping this to happen has been incorporated into the bill and the implementation of the bill to give effect to that concept. Even if you cannot amend the bill from 'may' to 'will', it is the intent that we are looking for. We are seeking a commitment of goodwill that until some of these other measures are put in place and all the harmonisation processes are achieved that for all intents and purposes an effort will be made to replace 'may' with 'will', even if it is not in the bill. Am I making myself clear there? What we are looking for is a commitment that while maintaining transparency and accountability every intent will be made in this transition process to ensure that reports are, as the government has said, 'done once, used often'.


No comments