Government Investigates Anzac Charity
24 April 2016 at 9:39 am
The federal government has confirmed it is investigating the financial operations of national Anzac charity, the Camp Gallipoli Foundation. However the organisation’s CEO Chris Fox has rigorously denied any wrong-doing.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed that it has removed the education based charity of its permit to use the the protected word Anzac on the eve of Anzac Day celebrations.
The report said the charity was also being investigated because of fears that the charity raised “millions of dollars… from ticketed events” and “it did not pass on the money raised to veterans’ associations”.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan confirmed that the charity had been stripped of its right to use the word Anzac.
“I was extremely concerned to learn of the allegations made about the conduct of Camp Gallipoli and its associated companies,” Tehan said in a statement provided to Pro Bono Australia News.
“As a consequence I have asked the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to conduct a review into the funding arrangements for Camp Gallipoli and provide advice on the charitable donations they have committed to make.
“My department has now written to Camp Gallipoli advising them their permit to use the word ‘Anzac’ has been revoked. Anzac Day and the word ‘Anzac’ both hold a special place in the hearts of all Australians.
“It would be disturbing if any company or individual tried, or gave the impression of trying, to gain a commercial advantage by the inappropriate use of the word ‘Anzac’.”
Despite this statement, Camp Gallipoli Foundation CEO Chris Fox told Pro Bono Australia News that the media report was “scurrilous” and “totally false”.
He said that he had received confirmation in writing that he had the right to use the word Anzac in 2016 and that he would have to reapply to use it in 2017.
A department spokesman said the revocation notice was issued on 22 April and the organisation had seven days in which to remove the word Anzac from its promotional material and merchandise.
In effect this allowed the foundation to continue to use the name this Anzac Day.
“All the funds of the foundation are subject to an audit by PWC,” Fox said. “As far as we are concerned it will be business as usual… as we focus on getting 30,00 kids to Gallipoli events.”
“The minister… indicated that he was comfortable around the notion of how our expenses were paid through Camp Gallipoli however he sought clarification around our contributions… in support of Legacy and the RSL.”
He said a member of the foundation board would furnish that information immediately to the minister and a detailed statement in response to the media claims would be made soon.
The Camp Gallipoli Foundation used its Facebook page to deny the allegations.
The Camp Gallipoli Foundation is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). It’s aim is to provide educational and cultural events around the ANZAC theme with funding from government grants and corporate sponsorship and with fundraising events to raise money for veterans organisations.
A spokesperson for the ACNC said the regulator could not confirm whether it had been advised of the government’s investigation into the charity under its privacy provisions.
“Due to the secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act, we are unable to confirm or comment on compliance activity into specific charities, and what action we may or may not take,” the spokesperson said.
“The ACNC takes all concerns about registered charities seriously. The ACNC works across government and with law enforcement agencies where appropriate.”