The Government’s announcement of Gary Johns’ appointment as Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) is deeply concerning and raises a massive red flag for the charities and not-for-profit sector and the broader community.
"This appointment demonstrates the Government's clear intent of its approach to the charities and not-for-profit sector.
“Columnist for the Australian Gary Johns is strongly anti-charity and will surely make it impossible to be impartial in his role as Commissioner for the ACNC”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“Appointing someone as Commissioner of the ACNC who has been a long term critic of the charities sector is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. The Government clearly has the intention of eroding the charities and not-for-profit sector.
“At a time when charities and not-for-profits (who work to protect vulnerable people criticised by Mr Johns) are under threat from the Commonwealth, the charity sector needs a Commissioner who will advocate for the sector so that it can flourish.
“Mr Johns has written a whole book about the charities sector, ‘A Charity Ball’, which states that ‘too many charities in Australia do little or no charity work, too many receive most of their income from government and too many lobby government for more’. Someone who believes this should not be Commissioner for the ACNC.
“Mr Johns has in the past insisted that pregnant Aboriginal women accessing income support are ‘cash cows’ and also insisted that struggling Australians should only be able to access the social safety net if they are on contraception.
“This decision sends a clear signal to the charity and not-for-profit sector that the Government is not on their side and wishes to further erode their capacity to advocate and work for good policy”.