As we enter the final months of the federal election, charities are being urged to focus on their bottom line rather than political donations, with the Labor Party pledging to stop taking donations from foreign governments that are in breach of the Paris climate agreement.
In the run-up to the election, the Coalition government announced it would stop giving overseas aid to organisations that donate more than $2,000 a year, a decision that has caused uproar.
The changes were expected to make it more difficult for charities to receive public funds, but the Prime Minister has since said the move will make a “big difference” to the charity sector.
Mr Turnbull announced a “revised” approach to the sector in March, promising to end the current system in 2019.
The Coalition said it was working to ensure “everyone has a fair and reasonable opportunity to make a donation to a recognised charity”.
The Prime Minister’s office said the changes would apply to all organisations, including those that receive public funding and those that don’t.
The Government’s current policy says foreign charities can only donate between $2 and $4,000 per year, with a maximum of $1,000 going to the Prime Ministers office.
But charities are able to donate between a maximum $2 to $5,000 each year.
The government has also said it would end the charitable foundation status of certain foreign charities, such as the UK-based International Rescue Committee, which has donated more than £20 million since the beginning of the year.
In March, the Prime Minster said the Coalition would end support for foreign charities that donated more to the Government.
The Prime Minsters office said in a statement the changes were part of a package of reforms that would “increase the transparency of charitable donations”.
“As the Coalition takes the lead on reforming our charities and supporting the sector, we are making sure every Australian has a fairer and more transparent experience of giving to the charitable sector,” the statement said.
It said donations would be more transparent and the donation forms would be simpler to use.
The ABC has asked the Prime ministers office for details of the changes and will update this story if we receive a response.
The Federal Government announced last week it was ending support for the International Rescue Organization (IRC) which donated more $3.2 million to the government since the start of the financial year.
It has also announced the Government would end its support for several foreign charities which have donated between $10,000 and $25,000 to the organisation in the last 12 months.
However, the Government has said it will continue to support these charities.
The IRC’s chief executive, John Withers, said it had “been an amazing asset to our country for over 150 years”.
“It has given a huge amount of humanitarian assistance to people across the world, including refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable people in the Middle East and South Asia,” Mr Witherson said.
“I can confirm that in 2019, the government will end our support for this organisation.”
We have been very clear that we are not going to fund the IRC.
The only thing we will support is those who want to do good.
The best thing that can happen to the IRC is if we continue to make them a priority, it will be a lot better for them to continue to do that.
The ALP, meanwhile, has said there will be no change to its support system. “
This is a very strong organisation, we’ve worked very closely with them, we’re very much a part of their lives, so it’s very exciting for us that we’ll be able to continue working closely with this organisation in 2019,” he said.
The ALP, meanwhile, has said there will be no change to its support system.
The Opposition’s spokesperson on foreign affairs, Kate Ellis, said the government’s move was part of its “reformed” approach.
“The Government will end the charity status of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, effective immediately,” she said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said the change would ensure “all organisations are given a fair, transparent and affordable opportunity to provide support”.
“The Coalition is committed to making the Australian public’s charitable giving more transparent, and the Government is committed that the Government’s reforms will ensure that every Australian’s charitable donations are transparent, transparent, reliable and fair,” Ms Bishop said.
Ms Bishop also said the Foreign Affairs Department would work with the Coalition to review all of the foreign donations it had received over the past 12 months, and ensure the Foreign Contribution Disclosure Act was reviewed.
Foreign donations in NSW: 2016 and 2017 Source: Australian Electoral Commission Annual reports: Government, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23, 2024-25, 2025-26, 1926-27, 1927-28, 1928-29, 1929-