25 November 2021
Independent Senator Rex Patrick has thanked the Senate for supporting his disallowance to stop the Morrison Government's undemocratic attacks on Australia's charity sector.
"The regulations constituted a clear prohibition of freedom of political communication and expression,” said Senator Patrick. “It exposed charities to deregistration for actions most Australians would accept as a right and may have engaged in themselves, including peaceful protests and ‘sit ins’."
"The regulations would have imposed far harsher penalties on charities for any minor offence than any other corporate citizen. To propose these regulations while refusing to deal with sports rorts, car park rorts, blind trusts and the massive misappropriation of taxpayer dollars is an absolute disgrace. It shows where the Government's priorities lie."
"This Government has become ever more autocratic, eager to shut down political debate, and determined to avoid accountability. All these tendencies were apparent in this power grab.”
The Government sought to justify these regulations as needed to boost trust in the charity sector. However, unlike the Government, charities are some of the most trusted voices in our society.
"To suggest that the regulations were needed to shore up the public's confidence in the sector was patently false. If there is any institution that requires new laws to increase public trust, it's the Federal Parliament."
"I thank Labor, The Greens and the crossbench for their support."