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Australian charities over 20 years: A timeline


28 May 2020 at 8:00 am
Luke Michael
The landscape for charities in Australia has shifted dramatically over the past 20 years. We take a look back through the Pro Bono News archives to re-examine some of the key events that have gripped the sector.


Luke Michael | 28 May 2020 at 8:00 am


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Australian charities over 20 years: A timeline
28 May 2020 at 8:00 am

The landscape for charities in Australia has shifted dramatically over the past 20 years. We take a look back through the Pro Bono News archives to re-examine some of the key events that have gripped the sector.

From 2000 to now: The key events of the charity sector

Sep,2001

The charity inquiry committee recommends a new legislative definition of charity.

This would operate within a framework of three distinct categories.

Jun,2004

The National Roundtable of Nonprofit Organisations is formed.

Chair Robert Fitzgerald says significant reform and streamlining of NFP laws and regulations is urgently needed, after the government decides to stick with the common law meaning of a charity.

Dec,2008

The inquiry into the disclosure regimes for charities and not-for-profits is completed.

It calls for an independent national regulator for charities and a minister for the sector.

Dec,2010

The High Court hands down a decision in the Aid/Watch case.

In a landmark decision labelled a win for charities, the High Court rules the activist group is a charitable organisation exempt from tax, overturning a lower court ruling in favour of the Australian Taxation Office. 

Nov,2012

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission officially opens its doors.

The creation of the commission comes in response to long-standing calls from charities for a dedicated and specialist regulator for the sector.

Dec,2014

The inaugural Impact 25 winners are announced.

The winners are revealed in Pro Bono Australia’s inaugural Impact 25 Awards, designed to recognise the most influential people in the social sector. Tim Costello, Rosie Batty and Cassandra Goldie are among the winners.

Dec,2017

Pro Bono Australia’s Civil Voices report is released.

It finds that NGOs are self-silencing for fear of risking their financial security or attracting political retribution.

Jan,2018
Mar,2020

The government responds to the ACNC Review.

It pledges to strengthen public trust in the sector by removing laws stopping the charities commission from explaining why it is investigating charities.

For a deeper look at these key changes, you can check out our article examining how far the charity sector has come since 2000 here.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

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

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