Senate debates

Thursday, 4 August 2022


Charitable Organisations

5:34 pm

Photo of Catryna BilykCatryna Bilyk (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I was pleased to hear about the Albanese Labor government's decision, on 1 July this year, to approve the Grace Tame Foundation for deductible gift recipient status. This means Australians can make monetary donations or donations of property to the foundation and claim a tax deduction for the value of their donation. The foundation offers lived-experience-based advice to promote the prevention and control of sexual abuse, and raises public awareness of sexual abuse in institutional settings. I've met Grace Tame. I've spoken with her a couple of times, and, I've got to say, she is one of the most impressive young people I have met. She's a fierce, powerful and courageous advocate for ending the practices of grooming and child sexual abuse, and the way she has confronted her own trauma and used that story as a weapon in the fight against child sexual abuse is inspiring. She is one very strong young woman.

I'd like to thank Minister Rishworth and Assistant Minister Leigh for adding the foundation to the Register of Harm Prevention Charities within six weeks of the election. The foundation's application for charity status was first submitted on 1 July 2021. Sadly, that means the previous government held the application back for 44 weeks—almost a year—without approving it. I'd be interested to hear the previous government's excuse for delaying the approval for so long. We do know that Ms Tame revealed publicly that she'd been threatened before the election to support the former Prime Minister or risk losing the government's support for the foundation. Was that what happened? This delay was, at best, an egregious failure in administration by the previous government or, at worst, ideologically motivated.

This is just one of the multiple harm-prevention charities that should have received DGR status long ago. Now it has fallen to Labor to clear the backlog. Among the other charities are Consent Labs Ltd, a charity that promotes the prevention of sexual, physical and emotional abuse; Carlton Respects, established by Carlton Football Club, which promotes the prevention or control of abusive behaviour, in particular violence against women, and increasing gender equality; the Healthy Minds Club, a men's mental health organisation; KYUP Project Ltd, a charity that promotes the prevention and control of self-harm and physical, emotional and sexual abuse; the Jack Beasley Fund Inc., whose purpose is to bring about changes to the culture around knife crime; the Australian Jewish Association Inc., whose purpose is to protect the Jewish community within Australia, particularly from antisemitism, and to facilitate cooperation, harmony and peaceful coexistence within Australian society; and the Ping Ming Health Community Association Inc., whose purpose is to promote harm prevention through combined education.

I mention lastly, because it's one of my favourite charities—I've got three or four that I spend a lot of time and effort with—A Fairer World. Based in Hobart, A Fairer World provides ways for schools, workplaces and the Tasmanian community to learn, connect and act together for positive social change. I've had a fair bit to do with A Fairer World over the years, attending and supporting school expos they run with their diversity education program and their 'are you Making a Difference?', or ruMAD, program. I've also seen the amazing work they've done more recently with their human libraries, which use trained volunteers, known as 'human books', to promote understanding and inclusion through telling their personal stories. I'm proud to say that I've remained one of their members for many, many years.

It is to the great shame of those opposite that they've held up these DGR status applications for so long. We know that DGR status provides a great incentive for donors and that every delay after applying for DGR status costs the charities money. It's now fallen—like a whole lot of other things—to the Albanese Labor government to clear the backlog of delayed applications left by the previous government. These are all very deserving charities, every single one of them. They're all doing amazing work in the community and they deserve to have their applications dealt with in a timely manner, not held up because of some ideological view or because somebody said something that the Prime Minister didn't like. That is absolutely abhorrent behaviour. (Time expired)