Unsurprisingly, the Liberal Senators supported the abolition of
the ACNC, however, the Labor and Greens Senators offered dissenting
reports appealing for the ACNC to continue. The dissenting reports
noted that the ACNC is preferable to returning to the previous
regime of regulation by the ATO and ASIC.
The No 1 Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives
on 19 March and now will return to the House of Representatives
where it is likely to be passed by the lower house. Part 1 of the
Bill contains the necessary provisions to repeal the ACNC and Part
2 provides for transitional arrangements, importantly, allowing for
the Minister to specify a successor agency.
If passed, the Bill won't come into operation until the
Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (Repeal) Bill
(No 2) (which has not yet been introduced) is successfully
"the No 2 Bill will have to deal with such matters as what
agency will now endorse not-for-profit organisations as charities,
and to what extent the Commonwealth will continue to regulate the
governance of charities. It is not yet clear what will be the
functions of the National Centre for Excellence" [paras 1.22
A National Centre for Excellence?
The Department of Social Services has commissioned the Centre
for Social Impact (CSI) to develop a preferred model for the
proposed National Centre for Excellence (NCE).
CSI will deliver a report for the Department on options,
recommendations and a preferred model for the NCE in early
Developing the scope of the NCE and its intended functions will
occur through a two-step consultation process. Firstly, CSI has
made available an online
survey which will collate stakeholder views about the potential
activities, purpose and models for the NCE. In phase 2, a paper
outlining potential models will be distributed and a second round
of stakeholder feedback sought, before a final report and
recommendations will be prepared for the Department of Social
The phase 1 survey closes on 30 June and there
has been limited publicity within the sector regarding this
Regarding phase 2, the Department of Social Services has
"An Options Paper will explain the ACNC replacement
arrangements and provide options on how key functions will be
transitioned to the ATO and ASIC." The paper will be available
on the Department's website and stakeholders will be invited to
provide written submissions.
In addition to written submissions, a series of consultation
forums will be held in July and August. Dates and locations will be
advertised on the Department's website before the end of June
2014. If you are interested, register online to attend.
Written submissions will be accepted up until four weeks
after the last open forum is held."
With only one more week of Parliament, Bill No.1 may not pass
the House of Representatives until after the winter break.
Importantly, it may have trouble passing the Senate as any
legislated outcome may depend on the views of the Palmer United
Party. Furthermore, in our view it is unlikely that the No.1 Bill
will be introduced into the Senate until the details of the No 2
Bill, including the CSI report have been finalised which won't
occur before September 2014.
Until then, the ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe has stated
"the ACNC remains Australia's charity regulatory body
until the Parliament votes otherwise".
We discuss whether certain clauses commonly found in ordinary commercial contracts could be considered to be penalties.
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