Krystian Seibert and Ann O’Connell write in The Conversation (20.1.17) about the recent withdrawing of ‘tax-exempt charity’ status from the Catch the Fire Ministries, highlighting how charities in Australia can be political and can advocate or lobby to further their charitable purposes, but they can’t be party-political.
‘The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission announced this week that Catch the Fire Ministries had lost its charitable status. This means it loses entitlements to various Commonwealth tax concessions and exemptions.
‘Catch the Fire Ministries, which was registered as a charity advancing religion, is based in Melbourne’s outer-east and is led by Danny Nalliah. Nalliah is also the founder of the Rise Up Australia Party; he was its lead Victorian Senate candidate at the past two federal elections.
‘The commission cannot disclose the details of its decision due to secrecy provisions. However, the loss of Catch the Fire’s charitable status appears to be due to its very close links to Rise Up Australia.
‘Examples of this can be seen on Catch the Fire’s website. Posts call on church members to distribute Rise Up Australia’s promotional materials and donate to it. In news reports, Nalliah has admitted there were collections during church services to raise funds for the party.’
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