Under this Bill, most major charities would be required to register as a “political campaigner.”
This is because an organisation is required to register as a political campaigner if during the current or any of the previous three years their “political expenditure” was $100,000 or more.
Political expenditure is then defined very broadly and includes:
The public expression of any views on an issue that is, or is likely to be, before electors in an election (whether or not a writ has been issued for the election).
Hence, whenever a charity comments on issues such as homelessness, low levels of allowances and pensions, low wages, refugees and asylum seekers, electricity costs and a host of other subjects, the costs associated with making these comments would be deemed political expenditure.
For example, while the St Vincent de Paul Society has a relatively high profile on social justice issues, the cost of the Society’s advocacy is relatively modest. However, the cost is more than $100,000. This means that if the Bill is passed into law, the Society will be required to register as a “political campaigner.”