Charities to be exempt from foreign influence bill

World Vision Australia has welcomed a report today recommending charities be exempt from a controversial foreign influence bill.

While charities might not have been the direct target of the legislation, World Vision was concerned it unintentionally captured work advocating in Australia for the world’s most vulnerable people.

WVA Chief Executive Officer Claire Rogers said the bill in its original form was not acceptable in an open democracy because it discouraged charities from expressing views on important issues and fostering public engagement.

“A key pillar of WVA’s work is to speak out for people in the world whose voices would otherwise never be heard – half the 65.8 million displaced people around the globe are children,” Ms Rogers said.

“We need to be allowed to continue to speak in a non-partisan way on behalf of vulnerable people without fear of breaching domestic laws.

“We are pleased that the committee members have taken into account our feedback and that of the charity sector,” Ms Rogers said.

While WVA has always supported the Government’s stated objective of improving the transparency of foreign-controlled political activities, it was concerned about the vague drafting of the original Bill in terms of the definition of foreign principals and “acting on behalf of” others.

 WVA looks forward to reviewing the revised Bill before it is considered by the Parliament.

 For further information please contact:

Ruth Lamperd (senior media officer) 0417 765 947 or 

PICTURE: Children in Child Friendly Spaces set up by World Vision in the Cox's Bazar refugee  camp, where there are almost one million refugees primarily from Myanmar. 

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