Subscribe to News
Close Search
News  |  Policy

Zed Seselja Appointed New Minister for Charities

4 September 2018 at 8:38 am
Luke Michael
The Morrison government has appointed a new minister for charities, Senator Zed Seselja, who previously expressed a desire to improve government relations with the sector.

Luke Michael | 4 September 2018 at 8:38 am


Zed Seselja Appointed New Minister for Charities
4 September 2018 at 8:38 am

The Morrison government has appointed a new minister for charities, Senator Zed Seselja, who previously expressed a desire to improve government relations with the sector.

But concerns have been raised about Seselja’s ties to Peter Dutton and his role during the home affairs minister’s failed leadership coup.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed Treasury portfolio arrangements on Monday, with Seselja given responsibility for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.  

“Zed Seselja will have responsibility for the not-for-profit and mutuals sector including the [ACNC],” Frydenberg said.

For over a year, Seselja was the assistant minister for social services and multicultural affairs, and had constant dealings with the charity sector.

After taking part in a Community Council for Australia (CCA) pre-election debate on charity policy in 2016, Seselja told Pro Bono News the government always needed to find better ways of working with the charity sector.

“Certainly respect is a critical part of our community … I want to see [charities] continue to thrive and for the government to continue to find ways to help them and not necessarily in a domineering way,” Seselja said at the time.

Given his previous experience, CCA CEO David Crosbie said he welcomed Seselja’s appointment to the role.

“The charity sector will welcome back Assistant Minister Zed Seselja, who will have responsibilities for the ACNC and – we believe – some other aspects of charity policy,” Crosbie told Pro Bono News.

“Senator Seselja previously represented the government in the CCA pre-election debate on charity policy held at the National Press Club prior to the last election, and… expressed interest in and commitment to supporting charities in Australia.

“We wish the new [minister] well in this role and look forward to working with him to strengthen role of charities and the broader civil society as we head towards the next federal election.”

The charities commission also welcomed Seselja to the role.

ACNC Commissioner Dr Gary Johns told Pro Bono News: “On behalf of the ACNC, I wish to congratulate the assistant to the minister for Treasury and finance [Senator] Seselja on the appointment; we look forward to working with him.”

Seselja marks the charity sector’s sixth minister since 2013, following Kevin Andrews, Scott Morrison, Christian Porter, Michael McCormack, and most recently Michael Sukkar, who resigned in August following the Liberal Party’s leadership crisis.    

Labor MP Andrew Leigh, the shadow minister for charities and not for profits, said this instability in the role clouded Seselja’s appointment.

“Regardless of what you think about each of those individuals, it’s hard to see how a minister can properly serve the sector when they’re only in the job for an average of ten months,” Leigh said.

Leigh also noted Seselja’s role as a “leading public face” of Peter Dutton’s failed leadership insurgency, and warned his elevation to charities minister would be dangerous for the sector.

“With one of Peter Dutton’s henchmen taking responsibility for the charities commission, charities will now be steeling themselves for the next attack,” he said.

“Rewarding Senator Seselja’s appetite for destruction by placing him in charge of our best community builders just confirms the perverse energies that now guide this government.”

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at or download our contributor guidelines.

Get more stories like this


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


So, what’s the plan, prime minister?

David Ritter

Wednesday, 8th July 2020 at 2:14 pm

Faith without work(ers) is dead

John Falzon

Saturday, 4th July 2020 at 9:00 am

Three changes affecting charity governance

Daryl Jones

Thursday, 2nd July 2020 at 7:00 am

The role of management in government engagement

Neil Pharaoh

Wednesday, 1st July 2020 at 6:52 pm

Subscribe to News
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

We need your help.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Pro Bono Australia has seen a devastating fall in advertising and less people posting on our job board, which is how we fund our free news service. You can show us that you value the work we do by making a contribution.

 Make a contribution 

You have Successfully Subscribed!