Nil by do­na­tions

THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS -

An Aus­tralian elec­toral fund­ing bill could pre­vent med­i­cal re­search in­sti­tutes from re­ceiv­ing do­na­tions and speak­ing out about im­por­tant health is­sues, an in­dus­try body has warned. Tony Cun­ning­ham (pic­tured), pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralian Med­i­cal Re­search In­sti­tutes, said that the new Elec­toral Fund­ing and Dis­clo­sure Re­form Bill could re­sult in char­i­ties, in­clud­ing med­i­cal re­search in­sti­tutes, be­ing la­belled “po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ers”. This is be­cause three key terms in the bill – po­lit­i­cal ex­pen­di­ture, po­lit­i­cal pur­pose and pub­lic ex­pres­sion – would “un­rea­son­ably” de­fine a wide range of apo­lit­i­cal pol­icy de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­ity as “po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ing”, he said. This would hin­der their abil­ity to re­ceive do­na­tions and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic on a wide range of health is­sues, he claimed.

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