Children's Cancer Institute Registration Update
24 November 2005 at 12:11 pm
The Children’s Cancer Institute Australia is awaiting the decision of the Victorian Director of Consumer Affairs in its fight to stave off deregistration in that state after it was claimed that just 8% of the proceeds of the Cherie Blair dinner were directed into its charity work.
The institute was given a weeks extension on the original deadline to provide information and show cause why it should not be deregistered under Victorian Consumer Affairs laws.
The fundraising event, at which Mrs Blair was the key speaker, raised more than $190,000 but it is claimed that only $16,000 went to charity.
It’s alleged the rest was spent on staging the dinner – including paying the British PM’s wife.
The February 10 dinner at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre was part of a fundraising tour of Australia and New Zealand, for which Mrs Blair was paid a reported $250,000.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is said to have found event promoter Max Markson received $50,000 for organising the tour.
Markson has denied he was paid to organise the dinner and insisted he had not profited from the charity in any way.
He says he personally donated $100,000 to Children’s Cancer Institute Australia.
It is a condition of the charity’s registration under the Fundraising Appeals Act in Victoria that it direct 60 per cent of proceeds from each fundraising event into its charity work.
It is also required to notify consumer affairs if it hires a commercial event organiser, but the investigation found this was not done.
The Victorian Government made changes to the Fundraising Appeals Act in 2001 to make sure fundraisers are open and transparent.
The Fundraising Appeals Act 1998 allows the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria to impose conditions on a fundraiser’s registration, upon application or renewal or at any time during the period of registration.
A spokesperson for Consumer Affairs says the Director Dr. David Cousins is considering the information provided by CCIA and will make a decision in due course.
The spokesperson says that when seeking registration or the renewal of registration as a fundraiser under the Act, applicants are required to provide information which estimates the percentage of total appeal proceeds that will be distributed to the nominated beneficiaries of the fundraising appeals.
The Director considers all the information provided by the fundraiser and may impose a condition or conditions on a fundraiser’s registration based on this information. This then appears on the public registry website.
The Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia issued a statement which says in part that the Cherie Blair Melbourne dinner was one stop on a national tour that raised over $251,000 directly for CCIA, all of which has gone to children’s cancer research.
The statement says the Melbourne leg of the tour was not as successful as CCIA expected it would be for several reasons. Primarily, the expected turnout was far below their expectations mainly due to some negative publicity concerning Cherie Blair in the week leading up to the event.
CCIA says it is, as a result, carefully examining its internal procedures particularly in relation to events organised in conjunction with others, to ensure that if any improvements should be made as a result of this event they are made.
CCIA says it supports and respects the role of the Office of Consumer Affairs Victoria in regulating charities so as to ensure the public has access to all relevant information to enable consumers to make informed decisions.
The Institute says it will work closely with the Office of Consumer Affairs Victoria to retain its status as a registered fundraiser in that State so that we can continue to work hard to find a cure for childhood cancer.