FAQ - Foreign Donations Bill
Monday, 11 December 2017
The Turnbull Government has no plans to ban charities from advocating for their stated causes. The Government has introduced new legislation to remove foreign donations from Australian politics. Australians want the integrity of our elections protected.
The Bill allows charities to continue to collect foreign donations to fund non-political activity such as medical research, conservation or aid projects. The Government has no interest in restricting or limiting charities’ legitimate activities.
This Bill simply seeks to keep foreign billionaires and foreign governments out of Australia’s elections. This is consistent with donations laws in other jurisdictions including NSW, the United Kingdom and Canada. The ban will apply to all activity aimed at influencing elections – whether carried out by a party or candidate, a party’s associated entity, such as a fundraising group or trade union, or a political campaign group.
A handful of charities (0.02% of the 54,000 registered charities in Australia) are currently regulated by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 because they spend significant amounts of money on things like election advertising and campaigning at polling booths.
The Federal Government continues to introduce targeted reforms to strengthen the legislative framework governing the activities of various organisations within Australian and overseas communities.
It is imperative that Australia’s statutory framework keeps pace with the contemporary and evolving security environment in which we now all live.
Rapid developments in information and communications technology may allow foreign individuals to try and exert undue influence on some sectors of the political landscape.