We might not have followed the Kiwis down the road to an independent
foreign policy, but one interesting recent initiative across the ditch is
the new Charities Commission, which came into effect on July 1 after the Charities Act 2005 was passed into law.

According to the legislation, two of the purposes of the Act are as follows:

  • provide for the registration of societies, institutions, and trustees of trusts as charitable entities.
  • require charitable entities and certain other persons to comply with certain obligations.

Has anyone in Australia ever considered how incredibly unregulated our
not-for-profit sector is? For instance, APRA has just politely written
to a whole group of “religious” bodies that are getting into the
financial services industry. Of course, these religious groups are
exempt from the all powerful Banking Act and don’t even need to get an
ASIC licence to operate.

No wonder new Pentecostal churches are opening at the rate of one every
four days in Australia. It’s a huge rort and fails the test of
accountability, transparency and a level playing field given the
enormous tax deductions these groups are afforded.