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Law, policy and politics in Australia’s recent not-for-profit sector reforms


Over the last few years the Australian Government has announced a long-delayed and ambitious reform agenda for the charities and not-for-profit (NFP) sector. These proposed reforms include the establishment of a national regulator of charities and NFPs, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission; the introduction of a statutory definition of ‘charity’; the taxation of business profits of charities; a national scheme of fundraising regulation; and the geographical restriction of tax concessions for the sector. This reform agenda responds in part to key decisions of Australia’s High Court redefining the relationship of the sector to government, business and politics, as well as major policy reviews into the sector and taxation more generally.

This paper considers the current reform program of the Australian Government relating to the NFP sector. The authors reflects upon the current Australian reform agenda, analysing both the drivers and the barriers to reform, and in so doing draw upon and contribute to the growing comparative literature on NFP reform.

Author profiles

Joyce Chia
Dr Fiona Martin CTA
Fiona is a solicitor, academic and chartered tax adviser with The Taxation Institute. She commenced working as an academic after several years as a lawyer, both with the government (including the Attorney-General's Department) and in private practice. Her expertise and research are in the taxation law area and in particular how it relates to charities and interacts with issues relating to human rights and traditional land owners. Fiona has published many articles in highly regarded international and Australian law journals, including the Australian Tax Forum and Common Law World Review. She has presented at conferences on issues relating to taxation concessions applying to charities, the application of the GST particularly as it relates to charities and income tax and property development generally. She has also published a number of book chapters and a textbook in the revenue law area. In 2013, she was awarded her doctorate on the application of income tax principles to resource agreements with Indigenous Australians, with particular emphasis on the use of Indigenous charities as a tax-exempt structure. She has also received several research awards. - Current at 01 April 2016
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Ann is a Professor, Law School, Fellow, Monash University, Melbourne.
Current 1 December 2014
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