Char­i­ties de­fend tax de­duc­tions for help­ing mar­riage cam­paign

The Australian - - THE NATION - JOE KELLY

The Yes cam­paign is ben­e­fit­ing from tax-de­ductible do­na­tions made to part­ner char­ity or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The Vic­to­rian Aids Coun­cil and Hu­man Rights Law Cen­tre con­firmed they were ac­cept­ing tax-de­ductible do­na­tions to help fund ac­tiv­i­ties in sup­port of a Yes vote for same-sex mar­riage, in part­ner­ship with the Equal­ity Cam­paign.

The coun­cil says the move is in line with its “or­gan­i­sa­tional pur­pose of im­prov­ing the health and well­be­ing of LGBTI com­mu­ni­ties”.

Equal­ity Cam­paign ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tier­nan Brady said the coun­cil was a “val­ued and proud part­ner of the mar­riage equal­ity cam­paign”.

“As a health pro­mo­tion char­ity, it is com­mit­ted to the health and well­be­ing of LGBTI Aus­tralians,” he said. “Be­ing treated equally un­der the law, in­clud­ing Aus­tralian mar­riage laws is a key de­ter­mi­nant in the health and well­be­ing of LGBTI peo­ple.”

Na­tion­als sen­a­tor and No cam­paigner Matt Cana­van said that a health pro­mo­tion char­ity claim­ing that it was le­git­i­mate for it to fund po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns “stretches the law to ab­sur­dity”.

“It is against the spirit of the law for a char­ity to use tax-de­ductible do­na­tions to di­rectly fund pol­i­tics,” he said. “This be­hav­iour also dis­tracts such groups from fo­cus­ing on the gen­uine health needs of Aus­tralians.’’

The law cen­tre said it was tak­ing tax-de­ductible do­na­tions and for­ward­ing funds to the Yes cam­paign, say­ing that “all Aus­tralians should be able to marry the per­son they love”.

Cen­tre ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Hugh de Kretser said the cen­tre ex­isted to pro­mote hu­man rights in Aus­tralia and had been work­ing with the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans and in­ter­sex com­mu­nity for years to achieve same-sex mar­riage. “We’re work­ing very closely with the na­tional mar­riage equal­ity cam­paign and we are strongly back­ing the cam­paign with both per­son­nel and fi­nan­cial sup­port,” he said. “All Aus­tralians should have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties for love, com­mit­ment and hap­pi­ness. All Aus­tralians should be able to marry the per­son they love.”

A spokes­woman for the Aus­tralian Char­i­ties and Not-forProfits Com­mis­sion said char­ity in­volve­ment in po­lit­i­cal ad­vo­cacy was a com­plex area, but not against the rules.

“Reg­is­tered char­i­ties can pro­mote or op­pose a change to any mat­ter of law, pol­icy or prac­tice, as long as this ad­vo­cacy fur­thers its char­i­ta­ble pur­pose — oth­er­wise known as its mis­sion,” she said.

Brady

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