A coalition-chaired committee has called new government regulations for charities unnecessary and suggested they have the potential to restrict freedom of speech.

Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has written to Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar on behalf of the Senate standing committee to express concerns about the Morrison government’s proposed amendments to charities regulations.

The amendments would give the charities commissioner far-reaching powers to deregister charities for minor offences – such as blocking a footpath at a vigil – or if he believes a minor offence may occur in the future. 

Earlier this year, the Morrison government supported recommendations that would overhaul laws for charities and not-for-profits and give the charity body discretion to disclose issues, but an alliance of over 30 charities has welcomed the senator’s letter abhorring the proposed regulations.

In the letter, Senator Fierravanti-Wells noted that the government “does not provide sufficient detail as to the scope of [the charities commissioner’s] discretionary powers, their necessity, or any relevant limitations”, and asked why it is appropriate and necessary to expand the commissioner’s discretion.

The proposed changes have already been criticised by a number of legal professionals, who called them “unconstitutional” and “indefensible” regulations that would stop charities from fulfilling their purpose and continuing public interest work freely.

Source: https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/politics/31992-concerns-raised-over-proposed-charity-regulations?utm_source=LawyersWeekly&utm_campaign=22_07_21&utm_medium=email&utm_content=3&utm_emailID=882dfb433067b4011c87c45ff376fe5c42fdf5fc8de3c999c59a0ade0bb38b91