Anti-charity campaigner new head of charity regulator!

‘Charities across Australia are shaking their heads in disbelief that a high profile anti-charity campaigner has been appointed to replace Susan Pascoe as head of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC). 

According to David Crosbie, CEO of the Community Council for Australia; ‘this is a bizarre appointment.  Gary Johns has made numerous public statements that clearly indicate he is opposed to many charities and their work.  Only a government committed to attacking the charities sector would put someone like Gary Johns in as head of the ACNC.’

Mr Crosbie questioned whether Dr Johns has the capacity to fulfil the role.

‘The ACNC Commissioner is a very tough gig.  It requires real expertise, personal capacity, and a commitment to enhancing the valuable work done in our charities sector.  Dr Johns has demonstrated none of these characteristics.  I fail to see how Dr Johns could manage an agency of over 100 dedicated staff, administer a complex set of laws and regulations, provide responsive services, reduce red tape and build community trust and confidence in the charities sector.’

Over 100 leading charities wrote an open letter in June to the Prime Minister after Assistant Minister Sukkar failed to re-appoint Susan Pascoe as Commissioner despite very strong positive recommendations for her reappointment.  The Assistant Minister had refused to meet with anyone from the ACNC for over six months even though he is responsible for the agency, and did not even meet with Susan Pascoe prior to not renewing her contract.

At the time, many in the charities sector expressed concern that the Assistant Minister was treating the ACNC and the charities sector with disdain.


Minister’s media release: Appointment of Commissioner to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Response from the Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits: Gary Johns is unfit to lead the charity regulator

CCA joined with ACOSS, ACFID and leading charities to issue a Joint Statement: Deeply Concerning for all Australians:  Appointment of new Charities Commissioner

Media Coverage:

Charities criticise ‘bizarre’ appointment of Gary Johns as head of regulator, The Guardian, 7 December

Charities express alarm as long time ‘foe’, Gary Johns, is appointed as their regulator, SMH, 7 December

Charities Express Shock at ‘Bizarre’ Appointment of Gary Johns to Head ACNC, Pro Bono News, 7 December

Charities concerned about new regulator, ABC Radio, PM, 7 December

Government accused of trying to ‘silence’ charity sector with new commissioner, ABC online, 7 December

Charity critic might head federal watchdog, 9 News, 7 December

In Australia, new bill has charities fearing a war on advocacy, Devex, 8 December

Charity disgrace, The Saturday Paper, 9 December


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