Aspect April 2021

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Fighting attacks on charities, yet again

Kasy ED 4_pref

Charities and civil society. Both are crucial to the lives of Australians. And once again, both are fighting to defend their very existence.

The past year has shown how vital charities are. How would we have come through the pandemic without them? Or the 2019-20 summer bushfires? As communities across NSW and Queensland build back after recent floods, charities are once again at the forefront of relief and recovery, acting as shock absorbers for their communities.

Not only do these charities offer lifesaving and life enhancing services; they also help people recover in times of crisis. The Government relies on charities to do this work after crises and disasters, and it turns to them for help and input – they give advice on how an evacuation centres should be laid out, how disaster payments should be structured, how to deploy volunteers in disaster-struck areas. Charities have vital, frontline experience that helps governments plan and improve all of this work.

Not only do charities provide these vital services, they employ one in ten people in the workforce – that’s five times more than the mining industry – and contribute as much to GDP as the retain sector.

Of course, charities disproportionately support people who are disadvantaged. They also disproportionately employ women. That employment is spread out across Australia, meaning that those employees contribute in every community across Australia.

We could fill pages and pages on the contribution of charities to Australian life. We haven’t even touched on the social capital they build through boards, local investment, and the strengthening of individuals and communities.

So why would they possibly be under attack?

The Government is looking at sweeping changes to the way charities are regulated, touted under an all too reasonable sounding call to ‘prevent unlawful behaviour.’ Yet it doesn’t do to take government spin at face value. These changes could see charities deregistered if their staff commit minor offences – or more worryingly, if a charity is considered ‘more likely than not’ to be at risk of committing these offences.

The effects of these changes would cut deep into the recognised and highly prized Australian societal norm of free speech. They also go against the grain of this Government’s philosophy of cutting red tape, and will cause many, many hours of extra checks and regulations internally and at board level.

Most Anglicare Australia members do not have as their mission ‘to provide the best government services.’ Rather they have goals to enable people’s best lives, or to end poverty. To do this they need to not only provide services, but be able to gather the evidence of their experiences and share it with those who make decisions. Indeed, under the Marks of Mission of the Anglican Church we are called not only to ‘respond to need with loving service’ but to ‘transform unjust structures of society.’

So what could be behind these proposed amendments to law and guidelines?  It would appear that the Charity Commissioner himself has not requested these powers. The changes also contradict the Government’s most recent the review of the ACNC. And of course, the philosophy of the federal government to reduce, or at least not to add, red tape will be completely breached.

It may be hard to imagine the reason, but we can all imagine the outcome. Charities will be silenced, either through the real fear of deregistration or simply by avoiding the costs of compliance.  It will reduce the amount of evidence for governments and the community to build policy upon. It will result in one more voice closed down in debate, and that is the voice of civil society.

It is a cynical attack on an informed and trusted voice. More than one in eight Australians donate to charity, and many also donate their time and to the charitable and not-for-profit sector – even if only for a couple of hours as the coach of a local kid’s athletics team.

Ultimately, the proposed changes would silence the voices of communities, the voices of those that use the services of charities, the voices of the people employed by those charities. It is a diminution of democracy where the only voices are those who are party political, or paid by business. Where an ordinary citizen is asked only to vote and then leave the rest to government for the next four years. Nothing to see here.

It is ironic then that we today congratulate one of the leaders of our network, Paul McDonald as he was recognized as Influencer of the Year last night. Paul did not win this accolade by being quiet. The changes he has won came about because of polite but persistent informed advocacy. The result? Thousands of young people in care will have access to more support. Thousands of young people will have a better start to adult life due to government decisions enabled by advocacy.

Well done Paul. Let’s hope others inspired by your example are allowed to follow you in building a better society with advocacy and passion.

National Office News

National Office News: Changes to charity regulation, Royal Commission on aged care, JobSeeker cuts, and more

Government considering changes to charity regulation
Anglicare Australia has been opposing proposed changes that are being considered by the Government on the regulation of charities.

The proposed changes would force all charities to show they are taking steps to avoid committing 'summary offences' in each State, Territory and federally; make charities responsible for how other parties use their materials, such as research reports and logos; and make charities responsible for summary offences inadvertently committed by employees and volunteers.

Although it is politically unlikely that these changes would be used to target members of the Anglicare Australia Network, all members will still need to comply. Anglicare Australia has outlined our opposition to the changes in a detailed submission to the Treasury.

Anglicare Australia has prepared a briefing paper for members on the implications of the changes. Members are also invited to a Zoom briefing on the charities hosted by Hands Off Our Charities on the compliance implications of the changes. The briefing will be held at 3pm AEST on 21 April. Those interested in attending can register here.

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s Briefing Paper on the changes. Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s submission to Treasury.

Kasy Chambers joins Phillip Freier for conversation on Covid economics
Saul Eslake and Kasy Chambers joined Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier for the first in the Archbishop’s breakfast conversation series since the pandemic began.  The conversation, Covid Economics, Where Next, covered the social and economic recovery from the pandemic and ranged over questions such as the moral treatment of debt, intergenerational fairness, housing, and choices about how to re-build the economy and society.

Discussing the ending of the Government’s JobKeeper program this month and cutting  other support for unemployed, homeless and other disadvantaged people has led to worse despair than before the Coronavirus pandemic, Kasy said.

Before the pandemic, many clients of Anglicare Australia Network members felt their situation was “just the way it is, some rich, some poor”, Ms Chambers said at the first of Melbourne Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier’s Federation Square public conversations for 2021.

“But the Government showed during the pandemic what it could do if it tried, bringing welfare to just under the poverty line for the first time since 1994. It meant people could buy a fridge or fresh food. One told me she had bought her daughter a birthday present for the first time ever,” Ms Chambers said. “People now feel that cutting this support shows what the government really thinks of us.”

“I’m very disappointed that we didn’t see Covid-19 as an opportunity for a rethink about the whole social contract,” Ms Chambers said.

Royal Commission shows aged care reform is urgent
Anglicare Australia is calling on the Government to commit to quality, affordable aged care for every Australian. The call is made in the wake of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

“The quality of the care we provide is a reflection of how we value older people. This Royal Commission offers us a historic opportunity to shape that care,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“Australia owes a debt of gratitude to the older Australians, carers, aged care workers, and Commissioners who shaped this report. Their experiences and stories must be heard – and they must be acted upon.

“They tell us our aged care system is broken. Aged care homes are struggling to provide quality care and keep their doors open. Older Australians are the ones paying the price.

“Australia spends half the OECD average on aged care. That’s not good enough. Older Australians deserve quality care, and this Royal Commission has shown that too many people aren’t getting it.”

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release.

Anglicare Australia National Conference: Update
As reported in the previous edition of Aspect, Anglicare Australia National Conference will be moving to a virtual format this year. The existing conference dates of 19-22 September 2021 will remain.

Our conference team is putting together an exciting virtual program, so stay tuned for more information. The Anglicare Australia Awards will also take place virtually. Members are encouraged to think about outstanding programs and volunteers who could be nominated for the awards.

In April and May, Anglicare Australia will be circulating information on the conference program, registration, and nominating for awards. To make sure you’re subscribed to receive this information, get in touch with Anglicare Australia.

For more information on the conference, or to share your thoughts and ideas, please contact [email protected].

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Upcoming Anglicare Australia Network meetings
A number of Anglicare Australia’s special interest networks have meetings planned for April and May.

Confirmed dates include the Clinical and Care Governance Network, which will hold their first meeting of the year on Tuesday 13 April. The Chief Financial Officers Network will also hold meetings on Thursday 1 April, Wednesday 14 April, and Thursday 6 May.

The Aged and Community Network, which recently met to consider the initial reaction to the Royal Commission’s final report, will meet again following the Government’s response to the Commission due at the end of May. This meeting will consider future work, and is set to be held in June.

Anglicare Australia is also looking at reactivating the Fundraising and Marketing Network, and is seeking expressions of interest for an upcoming meeting or mini-conference.

For more information on these meetings or any other network activity, contact [email protected].

Invitation: Anglicare Australia client voice forum
Anglicare Australia is holding a Zoom forum on the voice of the client. The forums will be held over two sessions on Wednesday 28 April Thursday 6 May.

The aim of the forum is to build a conversation across the network about

  • including the voice of clients in everyday work,
  • the different ways people’s voices in the world are supported by Anglicare member organisations, and what we can do together, and learn from each other, about designing systems that respond to people’s goals and needs.

The forum will explore these issues and learn more about existing initiatives across the Network, such as Anglicare WA’s client participation strategy; a client voice framework in Anglicare Victoria; co-designed and co-produced programs from Anglicare Sydney; a Young Women’s voices project from Anglicare Southern Queensland; and community development partnerships that the Brotherhood of St Laurence are working on in Melbourne.

To attend the forum, or for more information, contact [email protected].

Emma Aspden from Anglicare North Coast wins Coffs Coast Woman of the Year
Emma Aspden of Anglicare North Coast has been named this year’s Coffs Coast Woman of the Year. Emma is the coordinator of 3Es to Freedom, an Anglicare North Coast program that provides assistance to refugee and migrant women, particularly in the early days of their settlement.

Following the award Emma spoke at an International Women's Day breakfast, where she spoke about the importance of connection and believing in others.

She said that the women with whom she works come with no English language but many stories to tell and limited education but a wealth of knowledge. She also told the audience that because family has always been important to her, she considers the women she works with as family.

Anglicare Australia congratulates Emma and Anglicare North Coast for this honour.

Paul McDonald named Influencer of the Year at Impact 25 Awards
Anglicare Australia congratulates Paul McDonald, CEO of Anglicare Victoria and Chair of the Home Stretch campaign, who has been named a winner at the Impact 25 Awards. The Impact 25 Awards celebrate individuals dedicated to positive social change, and the 25 nominees with the most votes are crowned the Impact 25 award winners.

Paul received the Influencer of the Year award for his work on introducing significant reform in extending state care to the age of 21 for young people in the child protection system will transform the lives of generations of vulnerable young people.

This award is richly deserved for Paul’s tireless work to build the case for change, including leading a huge group of stakeholders and influencing multiple state governments to conduct trials.

Invitation to Anglicare Australia Network members to join the Pens Against Poverty writing competition
Pens Against Poverty is a writing competition encouraging schools, teachers and students to become educated in the important issues of poverty and homelessness in Australian communities, while developing their unique creative writing voices. It was founded by Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT. For years, the awards ceremony has been a key event in the Anti-Poverty Week calendar generating media interest and support from other key charities and organisations across Canberra and the region.

The competition is expanding in 2021 and Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT is inviting other members of the Anglicare network to partner with them and deliver the program in their own local area.

The event is an opportunity for children and young people to write for a genuine purpose. It is also an opportunity for Anglicare Australia Network members to build relationships with local schools and sponsors.

Those interested in hosting the competition will be provided with a participant pack, including template letters to schools and promotional materials. Interested members will need to nominate a point-person for their organisation.

For more information, or to become partner in the Pens Against Poverty program, please email [email protected].

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Charity regulations, ageism, gender norms and more

Briefing Paper: Changes to charity regulation
Anglicare Australia
This briefing paper updates Anglicare Australia Network members on changes being considered by the Federal Government to the regulation of charities. The proposed changes would mean that charities could be deregistered, warned, or have board directors suspended over ‘summary offences.’ Many summary offences would be covered by this change, spanning from those commonly prosecuted in protests, such as trespass or blocking traffic, to fundraising, electoral and work health and safety laws. The paper is available here.

Global report on ageism
World Health Organization
This global study of ageism shows that it is prevalent, ubiquitous and insidious because it goes largely unrecognised and unchallenged. Among older people, ageism is associated with poorer physical and mental health, increased social isolation and loneliness, greater financial insecurity and decreased quality of life and premature death. This report finds that across the life course, ageism interacts with ableism, sexism and racism compounding disadvantage. The report is available here.

Gender norms and domestic abuse: Evidence from Australia
Australian National University
This paper investigates the impact of violating this cultural norm on the incidence of domestic violence and emotional abuse against women and men in Australia. Violating the male breadwinning norm results in a 35 per cent increase in the likelihood of partner violence and a 20 per cent increase in emotional abuse against women. The strong effect of violating the gender norm on abuse against women is present across age ranges, income groups and cultural and educational backgrounds. The paper is available here.

Urban productivity and affordable rental housing supply in Australian cities and regions
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
This report examines changes in the supply of private rental housing and the implications for strategic policy interventions geared towards improving urban productivity. It shows that over two decades, the nation’s shortage of affordable dwellings available in the private rental sector has grown to 173,000. The shortage is most acute in inner and middle ring areas which offer higher accessibility to greater concentrations of employment opportunities. The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

2021 Volunteer Grants round
The Australian Government is inviting organisations to apply for volunteer grants under the Families and Communities Program.  Community organisations are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest to their local Member of Parliament by early April 2021. MPs will then nominate organisations who will then receive an invitation to apply for the 2021 Volunteer Grants from May to June 2021.

Expressions of interest are open until early April 2021. Exact dates for your electorate should be confirmed with your local MP’s office.  More information is available here.

Select Committee on Job Security
The Select Committee on Job Security was formed to inquire into the the impact of insecure or precarious employment on the economy, wages, social cohesion and workplace rights and conditions. The Committee is due to hand down its final report by 30 November 2021.

More information is available here. Anglicare Australia will make a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected] by Friday 9 April 2021.

Select Committee on Covid-19
The Select Committee on Covid-19 was formed to inquire into the Australian Government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and any related issues. The Committee is due to hand down its final report by 30 June 2022, and will conduct a rolling inquiry until the completion of this parliamentary term.

Submissions are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here.

Inquiry into general issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme is conducting this rolling inquiry, which aims to identify broad systemic issues relating to the implementation and operation of the Scheme. After 30 June each year, the committee reports to Parliament on recurrent issues that have arisen and offers recommendations intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Scheme.

Submissions are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here.

Volunteering Resource Hub offering free resources
Volunteering Australia has launched an online Volunteering Resource Hub to help anyone who helps manage, lead or coordinate volunteers.

The Volunteering Resource Hub is an initiative of Volunteering Australia, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. It brings together useful, evidence-based and current best practice resources to support effective volunteer management across Australia. This Resource Hub is coming at a critical time, as volunteering is still struggling with the impact of COVID-19.

The hub and its resources are available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, April 2021

Upcoming Anglicare Australia Network meetings
A number of Anglicare Australia’s special interest networks have meetings planned for April and May.

Confirmed dates include the Clinical and Care Governance Network, which will hold their first meeting of the year on Tuesday 13 April. The Chief Financial Officers Network will also hold meetings on Thursday 1 April, Wednesday 14 April, and Thursday 6 May.

The Aged and Community Network, which recently met to consider the initial reaction to the Royal Commission’s final report, will meet again following the Government’s response to the Commission due at the end of May. This meeting will consider future work, and is set to be held in June.

Anglicare Australia is also looking at reactivating the Fundraising and Marketing Network, and is seeking expressions of interest for an upcoming meeting or mini-conference.

For more information on these meetings or any other network activity, contact [email protected].

Invitation: Anglicare Australia client voice forum
Anglicare Australia is holding a Zoom forum on the voice of the client. The forums will be held over two sessions on Wednesday 28 April Thursday 6 May.

The aim of the forum is to build a conversation across the network about

  • including the voice of clients in everyday work,
  • the different ways people’s voices in the world are supported by Anglicare member organisations, and what we can do together, and learn from each other,about designing systems that respond to people’s goals and needs.

The forum will explore these issues and learn more about existing initiatives across the Network, such as Anglicare WA’s client participation strategy; a client voice framework in Anglicare Victoria; co-designed and co-produced programs from Anglicare Sydney; a Young Women’s voices project from Anglicare Southern Queensland; and community development partnerships that the Brotherhood of St Laurence are working on in Melbourne.

To attend the forum, or for more information, contact [email protected].

Spiritual Climate Change: The new decade of intentional risk taking
Anglican Insurance and Risk Services together with Ansvar Insurance present the inaugural Anglican Virtual Risk Conference, scheduled for 27-28 April 2021. The overarching theme is Spiritual Climate Change: The new decade of intentional risk taking. All Anglicare Australia members are invited to participate in the conference, which focuses on risk and governance. The conference will be held on Tuesday 27 to Wednesday 28 April. As this is a virtual conference, members are encouraged to register and listen to any sessions of interest to you. Click here to register.

Philanthropy Australia National Conference
The Philanthropy Australia National Conference brings the philanthropic sector and broader community together with the world’s best thinkers, strategists and leading voices to act as a catalyst for change. The effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic will be long-lasting and it’s critical that the philanthropic sector comes together to connect, share learnings, experiences and best-practice approaches to support the new environment and long-term recovery. The conference will be held online from 21-22 April 2021, with follow-up workshops held from 5-6 May 2021. Click here to register.

Finance Essentials Training for NFPs
In 2021, Non Profit Training will host tailored finance training for non-profit organisations. Board members, CEOs and Managers of non-profit organisations come to the role with a mix of skills and experiences that makes their contribution to the overall success of the organisation unique and significant. Many don’t come with an in-depth knowledge of accounting or a head for numbers yet their individual responsibilities often incorporate budget development. This course will equip NFP leaders with the knowledge they require to make better-informed decisions around the finances. Click here to register.

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