ACNC Facing Abolition (Australian Not For Profit & Charity Commission)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mercutia, Dec 27, 2013.

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  1. Mercutia Member

    Recent media reports suggest the current Australian federal government is looking at abolishing the ACNC after only a year of operation.

    News Reports are focussing on financial transparency issues among charities, but unfortunately not looking at public benefit issues or harm to beneficiaries - a major concern for those of us activist against cults that happen to have tax exempt charity status - Co$ and in my case the Universal Medicine cult based in Goonellabah NSW.

    Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews' proposal to abolish the ACNC which costs $13-14M to run per annum is a false economy considering HillSong Church alone raises $50M per annum without making its accounts public. Universal Medicine is estimated at raising a couple of million per year to improve the cult's property holdings, and God knows what the Co$ raises. And then there's the cost to taxpayers in terms of burdens on social services and the healthcare system wrought by cults.

    Another report in the Australian earlier this year suggests the ACNC is having teething problems - particularly by taking a soft approach on investigating fraudsters.

    I've been told by an insider that there are 3 major ACNC investigations underway into serious fraud, but I haven't been told which organizations are under investigation.

    I've written to a number of politicians and other stakeholders about issues concerning Universal Medicine's sham charity, and in the new year will be writing to question Kevin Andrews' proposal and CCing the letter to Senator Doug Cameron, Senator Xenophon, my local federal member and those local to UM headquarters. I'll be asking how UM got charity status in the first place, and insisting that the ACNC is a necessary regulator for ensuring the charity system is not abused. I'll be asking that the ACNC is given increased powers to investigate abusive and exploitative groups.

    I'd like to ask those of you victimized or active against the CoS to do the same and to share your stories or views on the cult's abuses with the politicians. Please don't count on others to do it, which is what most people do. We are stronger in numbers.

    Federal Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews:

    Federal Shadow Minister for Social Services, Senator Doug Cameron:

    Federal Senator Nick Xenophon:
    • Like Like x 7
  2. Mercutia Member

    This is the full text of the article in the Australian if you hit the paywall:
    National charities watchdog dysfunctional, ineffective

    THE national charities watchdog set up by the Gillard government at a cost of $53 million has suffered an exodus of investigators in its first year of operations, with former staff claiming it is dysfunctional and ineffective.
    The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, which was set up last year as a "one-stop shop" for the regulation of charities, is plagued by bureaucratic inertia and stalled investigations, according to ex-staff.
    "It's a calamity," said Graham Loison, who quit his job as an investigator with the ACNC last month. "If the government knew what's going on in there, they'd find better ways to spend their $53m because it's an absolute waste of time."
    Mr Loison, a former inspector with Victoria Police, said eight of the 10 investigators in the compliance section of the ACNC had quit since the agency started operations in December. He said senior management appeared reluctant to pursue charities accused of malfeasance, a claim that was supported by other former ACNC staff who declined to be named.
    "We're talking about investigations into serious allegations of fraud, not minor matters of the internal machinations of charities," said one, adding that probes were stymied by senior managers.
    According to an internal ACNC email obtained by The Weekend Australian, an independent review of the agency in June concluded that ineffective management had contributed to "uncertainty, confusion and anxiety" among staff.
    The ACNC's director of compliance quit in July.
    The Gillard government announced the establishment of the ACNC in 2011, arguing that a national charities regulator would cut red tape and increase government revenues by weeding out dubious tax-free organisations.
    The agency was budgeted to cost $53.6m over four years, with a staff of 94 to register, advise and investigate charities. The agency's head, Susan Pascoe, said last year the ACNC would act "swiftly
    and decisively" if charities were found to have committed serious misconduct.
    Mr Loison said he and his colleagues found that probes into serious allegations were bogged down by bureaucracy and ended in limbo.
    He said investigators were forbidden from taking their laptops interstate, were deprived of equipment and told not to contact charities without permission. Other former ACNC staff recalled their investigations being "blocked" and said senior management seemed intent on protecting rather than policing charities.
    The ACNC yesterday denied that any probes had been stymied but said a number of investigators had left and the compliance team was being restructured following an internal review.
    "Some compliance staff, including those with law enforcement backgrounds, found the transition to a civil regulator of charities with a more collaborative and less punitive approach difficult," the agency said in a statement.
    "The ACNC does not investigate criminal activity (these matters are for the police)."
    The ACNC said it had received 152 complaints about charities since it started, of which 33 were under investigation.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. DeathHamster Member

    Sounds fucking doomed.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Anonymous Member

    Not good. After all the effort to get this off the ground, why is it being scuttled by "senior management"? Something fishy is going on. perhaps new senior management could fix the problem? Should there be an investigation of senior management to find out why they are getting in the way of shutting down tax exemptions for cults that break the law?
    • Like Like x 2
  5. JohnnyRUClear Member

    Well... I'm not happy to hear this, buuuuuut back when this commission was being put together I did express reservations about increasing the state to deal with this problem, so a wee mite of "I told you so" is perhaps nearing the point of being in order. I daresay $53M showered on Anonymous might have yielded more results. Certainly more caek and lulz.

    Still, I'll wait to see how it plays out. Perhaps Sir Xeno has another card up his righteous sleeve, or OzAnons will do something epic.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. The Internet Member

    I'm guessing the ACNC needs evidence of inurement, tax evasion, money laundering, or other financial irregularities. But maybe they are getting mostly Scott Ogle style complaints instead.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Mercutia Member

    Regulators can work. The UK Charity Commission has been investigating Universal Medicine's charity operations in the UK and has hit them with a compliance plan over public benefit and conflicts of interest. If they don't satisfy the UKCC by the deadline, the charity's assets could be seized and redistributed.

    It does require decent management and scrutiny by politicians and voters to compel regulators to do their job. It's voters that have to make it an issue. Whingeing on the internet goes nowhere.

    Yes the ACNC, like the UKCC requires evidence. So if any of you have docs or other evidence I'd be submitting it, or organizing to collate what you've got among a few of you and submitting it. Submit anything you think relevant. The UKCC acted on a few bits of crucial evidence - ironically stuff that was in the public realm, but it was enough for them to launch an investigation.

    An option, if no one has thought of it, is to make a case to the ACNC of 'harm to beneficiaries'. That involves organizing as many testimonies as you can of your tax exempt cult of choice causing any kind of harm - physical, psychological, financial...It can be done confidentially, and testimony can be submitted by loved ones or other interested parties. The Commission will not release identities. I recommend using your networks to gather testimonies. And hammer the politicians and the media while you're at it. ;-)
    • Like Like x 5
  8. Anonymous Member

  9. Anonymous Member

    • Like Like x 2
  10. Anonymous Member

    Way of the Livingness
    lulz as offshoots go that one didn't fall far from the tree.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Anonymous Member

  12. Mercutia Member

    In case this helps anyone thinking of writing to Minister Kevin Andrews et al about abolition of the ACNC, this is part of the email sent to him recently, and CC'd to Senators Xenophon and Doug Cameron, federal ministers local to Universal Medicine, a few journalists, and a few not for profit sector experts/activists.

    Some of the letter has been removed due to the sensitivity of some information. Serge Benhayon is the LRH of UM:

    The basic points and structure of that letter could be adapted to write to him about concerns about any group with charity status. It does help that some action was taken against UM in the UK, and I'm hoping it gives us some leverage, so if you're writing in regard to CoS, perhaps mention any regulatory or government action taken against it overseas.

    I might be telling a heap of you how to suck eggs, so apologies in advance, but a couple more tips are not to write to politicians anonymously. Many offices filter out emails that don't contain contact details. If you want to be heard, you need to include your contact details. Kevin Andrews is about to begin consultations on the abolition, so now is the time to apply the pressure. It may come up again later in the year if it has to run through the Senate. And if any of you have media contacts, use them. The abolition of the ACNC is already a story covered by the SMH and Today Tonight, and I daresay the other news outlets will follow.
    • Like Like x 5
  13. Anonymous Member

    ^^^ Bravo!!!
  14. fishypants Moderator

  15. Gottabrain Member

    Please see thread at exscn:

    Tony Abbott turned down Sen. Xenophon's request for an investigation into $cientology after he went to see Cardinal Pell back when Nic first proposed it: now, he and his Cabinet will abolish the Commission to protect the Catholic cult here as well as the Co$.

    PLEEEEESE sign the petition to keep the Commission. We in Australia have worked far, far too long and hard to establish it and give it teeth:

    Can an Anon or two please cross-post this petition elsewhere so it gets as much exposure as possible? THANK YOU!!!
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Mercutia Member

    Thanks for that.

    Yes, it's very bad news:

    They'll scrap the charities commission to protect bent churches, but they're re-establishing the construction industry commission so they can harass the unions. Fuck me.

    I'm not registered on any of the Ex Scn sites and am a bit pressed for time. Would someone mind posting the email addresses for Kevin Andrews and shadow minister, Senator Cameron.

    Federal Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews:

    Federal Shadow Minister for Social Services, Senator Doug Cameron:

    Federal Senator Nick Xenophon:

    Just a reminder - if you write an email to these guys, include your contact details or it won't be read, and CC your local federal member. If you have personal experience of Co$ or it has harmed a loved one - tell your story. Personal stories hit home.

    • Like Like x 1
  17. Anonymous Member

    For the wary, this IS an International Petition!

    Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 8.26.09 AM.png

    (Signed and tweeted!)
    • Like Like x 1
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