Showing posts with label charities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charities. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

WHat did the IPA do with all those millions?


The Daily Telegraph, 6 July 2018, p.23:

…a mysterious foundation, CEF, which received $4 million from Hancock Prospecting in the year to June 2015, and the conservative Institute of Public Affairs think tank, which received $4.5 million from Hancock Prospecting. The Institute did not declare Hancock Prospecting’s donation in its annual report, and after receiving the funds awarded Mrs Rinehart life membership. [my yellow highlighting]

So one of the big donors to that lobby group passing itself off as a public policy think tank, the Institute Of Public Affairs Limitedendorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient since 30 March 2006 - has been revealed.

I wonder what the Institute of  Public Affairs Limited or the The Trustee For Institute Of Public Affairs Research Trust did with all those millions?

Because IPA annual reports do not show a $4.5 million spike. By 30 June 2015 its revenue which is primarily derived from membership fees and donations stood at $3.24 million (down from $3.47 million in June 2014) and only rose by $1.75 million as at 30 June 2016. In fact between June 2015 and June 2017 IPA revenue only rose by a total of $2.86 million.

By the end of the 2017 financial year the Trustee was telling the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission that it was still only a “medium sized charity” run by 5 volunteers holding only $1,140,497 in cash or cash equivalents and this was the trust’s total assets.

In fact that $4.5 million donation isn’t recorded in any of the financial reports submitted to the charities commission either.

Even though the IPA is supposedly a think tank and the trust fund was set up for the public charitable object of undertaking scientific research one is tempted to question this omission. 

June 2015 was less than a year out from the 2016 federal election campaign. Given their ‘joined at the hip’ relationship, did the IPA use part or most of these millions to assist the Liberal Party election campaign in some manner?

Perhaps the IPA Board* would like to enlighten us all on that point?


Institute of Public Affairs Limiter Board Members

The Hon. Rod Kemp,  Chair
John Roskam, Executive Director
Dr Janet Albrechtsen
Harold Clough
Dr Tim Duncan
Dr Michael Folie
Michael Hickinbotham
Geoff Hone
Rod Menzies
William Morgan
Maurice O’Shannassy 

Institute of Public Affairs Research Trust Board Members

KEMP, CHARLES RODERICK, Chair
ALBRECHTSEN, JANET KIM
CLOUGH, WILLIAM HAROLD
DUNCAN, WILLIAM TIMOTHY
FOLIE, GEOFFREY MICHAEL
HICKINBOTHAM, MICHAEL ROBB
HONE, GEOFFREY WILLIAM
MENZIES, RODNEY WILLIAM
MORGAN, WILLIAM HUGH MATHESO
O'SHANNASSY, MAURICE JOSEPH
ROSKAM, JOHN PETER


Monday, 9 July 2018

How can you spot an uncharitable charity?


On 3 July 2018 Liberal MP for Warringah and former sacked Australian prime minister Tony Abbott gave the 2018 Bob Carter Commemorative Lecture  titled “Time to pull out of Paris” at an Australian Environment Foundation event at CQ Functions in Melbourne.

So who and what is the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF)?

AEF is registered as a charity and its current board comprises:

BOSTOCK, THOMAS Chairperson
HILL, JOANNA Director
MORAN, ALAN Director
OXLEY, ALAN Director
QUIRK, THOMAS Director
RAE, JEFFREY Director
RHEESE, WILLIAM Director
RIDD, PETER Director

Its address is 19 Robinson Rd, Hawthorn, VIC 3122.

According to the Australian Business Register as at 4 July 2018, AEF business names are Murray Darling AllianceListentous and Australian Climate Science Coalition and its trading name is Australian Environment Foundation Ltd.

The foundation has no employees and is allegedly run by up to 10 volunteers.

AEF has no income except donations and in the 2016 financial year these donations totalled $1,175.

The AEF reported to the charity commission that its charity work consisted of updating the AEF website, sending out regular newsletters to AEF members on current environment issues, and on consequent benefits or costs of these issues, as well as holding public meeting with highly qualified speakers. However, although it spent $8,929 on these activities in 2013-14, it spent a mere $667 in 2014-15 and no money at all in 2015-16.

One has to suspect that the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) may now be picking up the tab for any outlays on newsletters, given AEF's close association with this far-right pressure group.

Venue hire and other expenses related to its "public meetings" appear to be picked up by corporate sponsors such as Bayer Crop Science and Monsanto in the past.

The original AEF website can be found at https://web.archive.org/web/20170620125239/http://aefweb.info/ where its right wing ratbaggery was on full view.

According to the latest version of its website:

The Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) is a non-profit, membership-based organisation that seeks to protect the environment, while preserving the rule of law, property rights, and the freedom of the individual. 

We take an evidence-based, solution-focused approach to environmental issues.    
While it may be true that "We are all environmentalists now", the great majority of Australians have little or no say in the environmental policies being put to governments – federal, state or local.  These policies are almost exclusively the domain of a tight network of conservation groups ensuring one view, and one view only, is put forward.   

The AEF is a different kind of environment group, caring for both Australia & Australians.  
   
So what is this difference it speaks about?

Here is part of the answer.

Source Watch as at 4 July 2018:

The Australian Environment Foundation is a front group founded by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), a conservative Melbourne-based think tank.

The director of the environment unit of the IPA, Jennifer Marohasy was the founding Chairwoman and is listed as a Director in the organisation's documents with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Mahorasy is also the listed registrant of the group's website, although the address and phone number for the website registration are identical to the address and phone number for the Victorian office of the logging industry front groupTimber Communities Australia[1] [2]

In July 2005, the month after AEF's official launch, it was announced that former television celebrity Don Burke had been appointed chairman. [3]

ASIC documents also listed Mike Nahan, the former Executive Director of the IPA, as one of the other founding directors. The documents also listed AEF's registered place of business as the IPA office. (Nahan was ED of the IPA until mid-2005). Pdf copy of ASIC registration - 11kb
In a column by Nahan in the Herald-Sun, he described AEF as "pro-biotechnology, pro-nuclear power, pro-modern farming, pro-economic growth, pro-business and pro-environment." [4]

AEF managed to jump the queue for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Status awarded to not for profit charities who’s purpose is to help save the environment. This status was awarded by the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) and approved by the Federal Liberal Environment Minister. DGR Status entitles donors to a tax deduction at their marginal rate of tax for every dollar donated. The head of the AEF admitted that it is a group set up to protect timber interests and stop resources being taken away from the industry in an interview on ABC Radio station Triple J's Hack program.

History

The AEF was formally launched on World Environment Day (June 5 2005) in the northern New South Wales town of Tenterfield. "This new group will be vastly different to the established environment organisations that have had the ear of governments for some time. The AEF’s focus will be on making decisions based on science and what is good for both the environment and for people," the group stated in its press release.[5]

The formation of the AEF was first mooted at the 'The Institute of Public Affairs Eureka Forum' organised in December 2004 by the Institute of Public Affairs.
The Australian Environment Foundation was registered by Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)as a business in February, 2005. Its formation was also announced during the May 2005 Annual conference in Launceston of Timber Communities Australia, a timber industry front group.

AEF was officially launched on World Environment Day, 5th June, 2005. Jennifer Marohasy, who is the IPA's environment director, is a key player. On her blog Marohasy boasted that "The Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) has just formed and embraced the following 6 values based on my five principles." [6]
Reporting on the AEF's launch, the Melbourne broadsheet newspaper, 'The Age' reported that Marohasy is the group’s chairwoman. "Dr Marohasy said she acted as the group's leader as an individual and not part of the IPA," the Age reported. [7]
The launch was covered on Michael Duffy's conservative ABC radio show, ‘Counterpoint’ on the 6th of June in a story called ‘Putting People First’. Ironically, this phrase was the name of a (now defunct) wise-use group that operated in the US. The piece is on the ABC website. [8]


via @simonahac, 3 July 2018

According to one of the original AEF directors Max Rheese; AEF and IPA members share common values.

The AEF inaugural board members were drawn from the Institute of Public AffairsLandholders Institute, Timber Communities Australia and the  Bush Users Group.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

A lesson in political repression courtesy of the Turnbull Government


On 7 December 2017 the Turnbull Coalition Government introduced a bill called the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017.

It is currently before the Senate and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters which reports to Parliament on 2 March 2018.

This bill purports to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to: establish public registers for key non-party political actors; require non-financial particulars, such as senior staff and discretionary government benefits, to be reported; prohibit donations from foreign governments and state-owned enterprises being used to finance public debate; require wholly political actors to verify that donations over $250 come from an organisation incorporated in Australia, or with its head office or principal place of activity in Australia, or an Australian citizen or Commonwealth elector; prohibit other regulated political actors from using donations from foreign sources to fund reportable political expenditure; limit public election funding to demonstrated electoral spending; amend the enforcement and compliance regime for political finance regulation; and enable the Electoral Commissioner to prescribe certain matters by legislative instrument; and Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 to make consequential amendments.

The bill contains these clauses in relation to not only donations made to political parties but also to donations made to advocacy groups and charities which lobby government:

# 287AA Meaning of allowable donor

 (1) A person or entity is an allowable donor if:

(a) for an individual who makes a gift—the individual:
(i) is an elector; or
(ii) is an Australian citizen; or
(iii) is an Australian resident, unless a determination is in force under subsection

(2) determining that Australian residents are not allowable donors; or

(b) for an entity that makes a gift:
(i) the entity is incorporated in Australia; or
(ii) for an entity that is not incorporated—the entity’s head  office or principal place of activity is in Australia; or

(c) for a person or entity that is a trustee of an unincorporated trust fund or unincorporated foundation, out of which a gift is made—the person or entity is an allowable donor within the meaning of paragraph (a), (b) or (d); or

(d) the person or entity is in a class of persons or entities prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph. Australian residents 

(2) For the purposes of subparagraph (1)(a)(iii), the Minister may, by  legislative instrument, determine that Australian residents are not allowable donors.

# 302P Information relating to allowable donor status

(1) A person (the first person) obtains appropriate donor information from another person establishing that the other person is an allowable donor if:

(a) the first person obtains a statutory declaration from the other person declaring that the other person is an allowable donor (unless subsection (2) applies); or
(b) if the regulations determine information that the first person may seek from the other person in order to establish that the other person is an allowable donor—the first person obtains 11 that information from the other person.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), the regulations may (but are not required to) determine that a statutory declaration that a person is an allowable donor is not appropriate donor information.

Note: A person who obtains appropriate donor information may not commit an offence or contravene a civil penalty provision in this Division (see 17 subsection 287(9) and section 302M).

It should be noted that approved witnesses to a Commonwealth statutory declaration come from specific occupational pools and only justices of the peace are prohibited from charging a fee to act as a witness.

It should be further noted that these clauses are in addition to the bill's amending of the definition of an associated entity which GetUp! asserts threatens its independence.

GetUp! had this to say on the subject:

Our lawyers just uncovered a killer clause in the Turnbull Government's new anti-democratic legislation that would decimate GetUp's ability to fundraise.Can you dig deep to help establish a GetUp Survival War Chest -- while we still can?

If passed, this killer clause would force then anyone who contributes as little as $4.80 a week to the GetUp movement to provide a signed and witnessed statutory declaration.

The impossibility of collecting thousands upon thousands of these documents would spell the end of people-powered fundrasing as we know it.

Of course, we're going to fight tooth and nail to stop this legislation in its tracks. But to prepare for the worst, we're creating a GetUp Survival War Chest, to ensure we run can keep our campaigns thriving no matter what.

Can you dig deep now (while we still can) as an act of defiance against this effort to choke off our people powered impact?


Donations page here.