Sex Party Wants Christian Lobby Stripped of Charitable Status
16 March 2016 at 5:07 pm
The Sex Party has called on the federal ministers responsible for the regulation of charities to urgently review the status of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) over its role in campaigning against the Safe Schools Program and same sex marriage.
The Sex Party said the ACL is a registered charity based solely on its stated aim to “advance the cause of religion” – the only qualifier for many organisations to be granted a host of tax exemptions.
The ACL is registered on the charity regulator website as a Not for Profit entity and is exempt from income tax.
The organisation describes its principal activities as “lobbying, advocacy, research, media, events and communications to promote Christian values and engage the Christian constituency in the public arena”.
Sex Party leader and Victorian Upper House member, Fiona Patten, said the ACL was widely acknowledged as being behind the aggressive lobbying against the Safe Schools Program as well as a major sponsor and organizer against same sex marriage.
“Many people I speak to are absolutely appalled when they learn that the likes of the Australian Christian Lobby are basically subsidised by the Australian taxpayer”, she said. “How are these activities in any way said to be advancing the cause of religion especially when marriage equality is a major election issue?”
The $8 million Safe Schools education program was launched by the Abbott Government and operates in hundreds of schools across Australia. Supporters say it’s designed to curb bullying and establish a safer school culture by teaching high school students about gay, lesbian and transgender issues.
Opponents including a number of Liberal Party back benchers say it’s a propaganda program forced on young secondary students and raises sexual issues inappropriate for their age.
Patten said that her party would run candidates in the federal seats of Higgins in Victoria which is currently held by Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, and Pearce in WA which is held by Social Services Minister, Christian Porter. She said together the two ministers administer the charity sector.
The Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton told Pro Bono Australia News that he was not surprised by the Sex Party’s attack on his group.
“The Sex Party is an apologist for the harmful pornography industry…and they have a seat in the Victorian Parliament.”
He said the ACL advocates for Christian values in both politics and in public debate for the common good.
“The ACL under its registration with the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission) must provide audited financial statements. Our reporting requirements are rigorous and public,” he said.
A joint statement last week by Ministers O’Dwyer and Porter announced the retention of the charity regulator, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
The Sex Party said it argued vehemently against the abolition of the ACNC on the grounds that it was an attempt “by the religious rump of the Coalition government, via the previous Minister for Social Services, the arch conservative Kevin Andrews, to shield the likes of the immensely wealthy Catholic Church from public scrutiny”.