DONATE, BUT MAKE SURE IT REALLY HELPS
IF charity begins at home, it seems there are some aid organisations in this country that may need to get their houses in order. Serious questions have been raised about not just the financial distribution models of some nonprofit groups but also the ideologies of mainstream charities that have been hijacked by the animal welfare lobby.
Australians have a core spirit of generosity when it comes to helping out, especially in times of crisis.
In recent months, we’ve seen an outpouring of support for our drought-affected rural cousins.
It’s very much a reflection of our pioneering spirit, our valued sense of mateship. Most Australians are happy to put their hands into their pockets to support any cause they deem worthy, from the local pub raffle to help a mate who has fallen on hard times to generous, ongoing and sizeable donations to bring joy to sick kids or provide lifesavers at local beaches.
Of course, there have been infamous cases of charities going rogue, including Belle Gibson, who feigned cancer to elicit funds for a bogus charity.
Unfortunately, in past weeks, mainstream charities have hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission has confirmed it is investigating several rural charities that received tens of millions of dollars in drought relief donations. The probe centres on alleged operational concerns.
Some of them have high-profile backers such as the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and Woolworths among their official partners.
The ACNC has asked these charities and their subsidiaries about certain practices.
Among the ACNC’s concerns include the charity’s compliance, the management of fundraising and the management of any conflicts of interest in carrying out charitable activities.
We’re talking about a great deal of money. Australians have given generously to help farmers, many of whom are in desperate straits.
In a statement on its website, several of the high-profile charities have said they were fully complying with the audits. One website has been seized by liquidators winding up a campaign.
The winding up order was made by the Supreme Court of Victoria’s Melbourne Commercial Court last October. Let’s hope the ACNC finds nothing untoward, because clearly these guys do great work in assisting farmers.
However, it would be souldestroying for many farmers if it was established that aid did not get to the right people.
I’ve received correspondence from a western Queensland farmer suggesting a nearby property had received a road train of 80 high quality large rectangular bales from Cunnamulla, a region far worse affected by drought than where he is.
The farmer said it was ironic that hay was freighted such a distance, out of a drought stricken region, to one that is not nearly as badly affected. The suggestion was that the prioritisation of aid was wrong.
On the bush telegraph, there has been much chatter about drought relief distribution. Cynical men of the land have been shaking their heads.
And while drought charities remain under investigation, Australians need to be wary of one of the country’s most well respected animal welfare groups.
Or at least it was well respected until recent years.
The RSPCA appears to have become a subsidiary, particularly in NSW, of the animal activism movement.
If the RSPCA had its way, it would close down the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound industries. Those industries employ tens of thousands of people, generate hundreds of millions of dollars in taxation revenue and contribute billions to Australia’s economy.
Yet the RSPCA wants to jump into bed with the Greens and close the industries down.
When former NSW premier Mike Baird closed greyhounds in NSW, the RSPCA stood by his side at the announcement.
By joining the Greens and embracing their policies, the RSPCA is effectively opposed to animal husbandry on farms. Their policies would send smaller country towns to the wall.
The RSPCA, Animals Australia and the ABC have teamed up to expose animal husbandry practices on Australian farms in the belief that it will garner public support to have them closed down.
They have also banded together to close the greyhound industry.
The message is obvious. Do your homework before donating to charity. Ask questions. Make sure it goes directly to helping farmers or saving puppies. Read the fine print. PETER GLEESON IS A SUNDAY HERALD SUN COLUMNIST peter.glee[email protected]
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