Independents and Minor Parties Key to ACNC?

Not for Profits may have to put their faith in a variety of Independents and the minor parties to save the new charity regulator the ACNC.

Political analysts claim that in the Senate the Greens are likely to be squeezed out of the balance of power, which is set to fall to South Australian Independent Nick Xenophon along with the Democratic Labour Party's (DLP) John Madigan and Katter Australian Party candidate James Blundell.

The ABC's election analyst Antony Green is reported as saying that these three Independents would obtain the balance of power if the Coalitions pick up two seats as expected.

According to Jo Scard, the principal of Not for Profit government relations specialists, Fifty Acres, despite the Abbott Governments plans to remove much of the power of the the ACNC, the new Senate - with up to 18 senators on the crossbench - may frustrate that agenda.

"With 8 micro-party senators and 10 Greens passage of any legislative and regulatory change will be complex and require complex negotiations. So the verdict on the future of the ACNC is far from clear in my view - there is certainly wriggle room," Scard said.

Senator Nick Xenophon has already confirmed his ongoing support for the Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission.

He told a South Australian Council of Social Service pre-election Forum that he supported the ACNC and wanted to see it strengthened, not weakened.

The Greens spokesperson for Family, Community and Disability Services, WA Senator Rachel Siewert has reaffirmed the Greens commitment to standing up to any attempts from Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott to roll back the ACNC.

"I am concerned that Tony Abbott and the Coalition have an inherent lack of respect for the broad role that charities play in our community,” Senator Siewert said.

“It would be unacceptable for the Coalition to attempt to place a heavier burden on the sector, expecting them to pick up more service delivery while at the same time limiting their capacity to lead the debate on important issues.

"Promoting a vibrant, diverse and independent sector is one of the three objectives of the ACNC, and is something the Greens are strongly committed to.

"By repealing the independent charities regulator, the Coalition would hand the work of assessing charitable status and regulation back to the ATO, with an accompanying lack of transparency. The ATO are not the appropriate body for this task.

"Not for Profit reforms and the operation of the ACNC are a work in progress, and the Greens acknowledge that as a new body the ACNC is settling into their role. But it is important that government works with the sector to improve the ACNC, rather than taking the backwards step of destroying it.

"Removing the body that is set up to streamline compliance obligations just makes it harder for the charitable organisations that play a critical role in our society.

"The Greens can be trusted to stand up for the not for profit sector in Parliament.

“We supported the creation of the ACNC and secured a number of amendments to strengthen the legislation and secure the independence of both the ACNC and the sector.

"We believe that this is important to our community, to have a vibrant charity sector that delivers a range of important services to hundreds of thousands of people and the environment.

"Above all else, the Greens are committed to the sector and ensuring its long-term independence, and we will not sit by and let Tony Abbott undo the hard work of so many during this reform process."

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