Charity Peak Body Sends Personalised Letters to Candidates
Tuesday, 31st May 2016 at 11:13 am
The Community Council for Australia (CCA) has sent personalised letters to political candidates across the country asking eight questions on how they plan to support the charity and Not for Profit sector.
More than 100 letters were sent, primarily to marginal electorates or electorates the CCA thought were particularly significant.
CCA CEO David Crosbie told Pro Bono Australia News that the peak body wanted to ensure that issues affecting charities and Not for Profits were on the agenda of the major political parties in the lead up to the federal election.
“They’re very significant issues for our sector, and for the way we work and our productivity and our capacity to serve our communities,” Crosbie said.
“For those reasons we want our candidates and our major political parties to be aware of what our issues are and what we want government to be addressing.
“It’ll hopefully push our issues further up the political agenda and make them a higher priority than if people receive no letters.
“That’s the goal, to ensure our issues – the broader issues of the sector – are actually being affected into the agenda of any potential incoming government or any potential crossbench that’s going to have a say in the makeup of government or its major policies.”
Crosbie said the ALP had responded and the Greens were finalising their response. The Coalition is yet to respond.
The CCA said it would collate the responses from the major parties and release a summary in coming days.
The eight questions addressed issues including red tape, funding uncertainty, deductible gift recipient status and public policy:
- Will you support the national charities passport set up by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission and make all government departments and funders use this passport rather than making up their own duplicate red tape compliance requirements?
- Will you support ending the ongoing uncertainty of government funding by setting a minimum six-month notice period for all government contracts with charities and Not for Profits?
- Will you support a minimum three-year funding period for government contracts with charities?
- Will you support all charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (with the exception of churches and schools) being given deductible gift recipient status?
- Will you support the CCA in the development of a national plan to strengthen charities in Australia?
- Will you commit to reviewing and implementing recommendations of the Productivity Commission report to improve productivity across the charities and Not for Profit sector?
- Are you prepared to consider reviewing measures of Australia’s progress that go beyond the economy and consider issues such as how fair, just, creative and equitable our society is?
- Are there any other issues or policies you would like to highlight with the sector?
Each of the letters was also personalised to include the background of the candidate and their electorate.
“If they’d been a teacher we would talk about their interest in education, if they’d worked in the sector we’d acknowledge that and say, look we know you worked in our sector,” Crosbie said.
“And so we’re hoping each candidate, as well as each political party, would be aware that these are significant issues in their local electorate.
“It’s interesting that many political candidates talk about their community connectedness as part of their campaign strategy, as part of their pitch to voters. You’d like to think if they’re proud of their community connections and seeing them as very positive they’d also be working to strengthen the organisations they’re proud to be associated with.
“At this stage we’re still waiting to see whether the public stance of many candidates to be involved in and supportive of many local charities translates into an agenda that’s going to strengthen the sector into the future.”
Crosbie said, off the back of the letter responses, the CCA would organise policy statements from the major political parties and was planning to hold a National Press Club debate.
“Again this year we’re looking at organising a National Press Club debate or discussion where the major political parties – the Coalition, the ALP and the Greens – will each present,” he said,
“These things are very difficult to organise because candidates are very busy campaigning in their local electorates and it’s very difficult to get the National Press Club and then to get a televised debate, but we’re in the process of organising that.”