Anglicare Australia says new rules targeting charities are an attack on democracy, joining a call for the UN to intervene.
Anglicare Australia and other leading charities have written to three UN Special Rapporteurs on democracy and freedom of expression, calling on them take urgent action to stop the changes. The rules would mean that charities can be shut down for speaking out, or for taking part in protests.
“Democracy is not just about voting every four years. It’s about everyone getting to speak up for their vision of a better society,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.
“And charity is not just about helping people in poverty. It’s about creating a country where poverty doesn’t exist. That’s why we need to be able to stand up for the people we work with.
“These rules are designed to stop organisations like Anglicare Australia from speaking up for our communities and our country by punishing us – and shutting us down for arbitrary reasons.
“They are not just an attack on charities. They are an attack on democracy.
“There is no shortage of lobbying and advocacy from businesses and corporations. They will not face any new restrictions. Instead these rules target those who can’t speak for themselves. They will shut out the voices of people in poverty and make it even harder for them to be heard.
“It is because these changes would silence dissent and shut down protest that we are calling on the UN to intervene. “We’re also calling on the Government to withdraw these changes – and end these attacks for good,” said Ms Chambers.