Thursday, 7 December 2017
Questions without Notice
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
Senator Siewert, I completely reject what you've said in your question. First of all, you misunderstand the legislation which Senator Cormann will be introducing into the chamber later this afternoon. Under the Turnbull government's legislation, which will protect Australian democracy and the Australian electoral system from the corrupting influence of foreign money, there is no prohibition whatsoever on overseas donations for charitable purposes. If we're going to protect our system from foreign money interfering or being used to manipulate the political system, of course we would extend that prohibition beyond political parties, but there is no prohibition whatsoever on charities receiving foreign money for non-political purposes nor, might I say, is there any prohibition on charities receiving donations from within Australia for any purpose, political or non-political. So, Senator Siewert, you're completely wrong about that, with respect.
In relation to Dr Gary Johns, whom I know slightly, Dr Gary Johns is a former Labor member of the House of Representatives. He was a minister in the Keating government. He was the Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations, he was the Special Minister of State and he was Vice-President of the Executive Council. Dr Gary Johns is a person with extensive experience in public policy and in politics and is a most respected Australian opinion leader. He is an eminently suitable person, who doesn't come from my side of politics—he comes from the left of politics—to occupy this role. (Time expired)