Right now, the government is trying to legislate for an increasingly authoritarian Australia.
Parliament sits again on June 18 and the government's proposed espionage and foreign interference laws are up for discussion. These bills could criminalise the ability of charities to advocate on behalf of the public on important issues.
Under these new laws, working with international bodies – say the United Nations – could lead to huge prison sentences and fines. Similar sanctions exist if you protest at a Commonwealth building or political office. And even without these threats to peaceful protest, the law would allow the government to conduct surveillance.
This may sound alarmist, but it’s really happening.
We need to call on Bill Shorten and the Labor party to amend these bills and protect our democracy. Will you let Bill Shorten know why you’re concerned about these attacks on our charities?
Charities and not-for-profits work to support Australians, particularly those in need, and help put issues you care about at the centre of decision-making. But the federal government's new laws will severely restrict advocacy and intimidate participation in public debate.
Restricting advocacy by charities sends a deeply troubling message – that our government is seeking to avoid accountability.
These new laws would also tie charities up in red tape, rather than allowing them to use crucial donations for the purpose they were given. Across the charities and not-for-profit sector, essential funds to alleviate poverty, to support Indigenous self-determination, to push governments to address climate change and to protect our forests, rivers and wildlife are now at risk.
Send the message that the government must keep its #HandsOffOurCharities.