As reported by The Australian this morning, because of perceived “threats” from LGBTI activists, the ACL applied, and was successful in, having the names of its directors and the directors of the associated Lachlan Macquarie Institute removed from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) register.

This came after a campaign from two activists over former PwC executive Mark Allaby’s position at the Lachlan Macquarie Institute and his new job at tech giant IBM. One side effect of the ACNC granting the ACL secrecy over who sits on its board is that the financial reports of the lobby, detailing how much money the political lobbying organisation takes in are now no longer on the ACNC website. Some donation information is still available on the AEC website, but much of the ACL’s financial information is now hidden. Crikey asked the ACNC what evidence the ACL provided to back up its assertions that its directors were under threat, but due to the secrecy provisions governing what the ACNC does, it could not comment on the case. 

Additionally, it is believed that complaints have been made to the ACNC regarding the ACL’s political activity, particularly in campaigning against Labor both at the last federal election and in the WA election, potentially in breach of the rules regarding what charities can campaign on. The ACNC could also not comment on this but did confirm that of the 27 complaints received in the past two years about charities involved in political advocacy, some of them were related to charities set up to advocate for religion, like the ACL. 

Peter Fray

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