Charities seek UN intervention against ban on advocacy

The St Vincent de Paul Society is among the charities opposed to proposed laws that would restrict advocacy (Bigstock)

Leading Australian charities have asked the United Nations to urgently intervene against plans by the Morrison Government to shut down organisations engaging in advocacy. Source: Australian Financial Review.

In a letter to UN special rapporteurs released on Friday, a group of 12 charities has warned they could be deregistered for organising, promoting or having a presence at peaceful assemblies where minor offences are committed or where they fail to meet restrictive rules.

Organisations including the St Vincent de Paul Society, Amnesty International, Oxfam and the Australian Council of Social Service signed the letter, seeking to block new regulations for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Under the proposed rules, the commissioner could deregister a charity pre-emptively if they believe it lacks “internal control procedures” to demonstrate compliance with the new laws, or that it has not adequately documented relevant procedures.

Human Rights Law Centre senior lawyer Alice Drury said urgent action was needed from overseas. She said the laws would “silence charities at a time when their advocacy is more crucial than ever” and were a case of “extreme overreach”

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said charities in Australia needed assistance, describing their work as more than just helping people in poverty.

FULL STORY

Charities seek UN intervention against federal bans on advocacy (By Tom McIlroy, Australian Financial Review

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