The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has distributed flyers targeting MPs who crossed the floor to amend the religious discrimination bill. Complaints to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) allege the ACL has infringed rules regarding political campaigning by registered charities.
The ACL flyers target NSW Liberals Trent Zimmerman, Dave Sharma, and Fiona Martin as well as Tasmanian Bridget Archer. South Australian independent Rebekha Sharkie also apparently rouses the ire of the ACL.
The flyers depict each of the candidates in a crane driving a wrecking ball into a church or school. Text on the reverse then attacks the MPs for supporting amendments to the religious discrimination bill.
“In February, Bridget Archer voted against protecting people of faith from discrimination.
“And voted to remove laws that protect the values of faith-based schools.*
“Do her attacks on Christianity and other faiths accord with your values?”
Just landed in North Sydney letterboxes. Subtle,huh?Zimmerman is depicted as crane driver smashing a wrecking ball into “Faith-Based Schools”.
Authorised – in barely decipherable small type on the back by the Australian Christian Lobby. #auspol pic.twitter.com/oNbFfCXLy6
— Rob Harris (@serpenteye) April 22, 2022
Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission
As a registered charity, the ACL is bound by the rulings of the ACNC. According to the regulator, charities may campaign on issues. But they must not promote or oppose a particular political party or candidate. However, the ACNC does not police charity activities by ‘approving’ which activities they undertake. And the regulator seems to focus on helping charities to return to compliance, rather than inflicting penalties.
Meanwhile, in other election news…
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg withdrew campaign material earlier in the week that featured the CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria speaking in his support. Later in the week, his campaign covered a photograph of a group of scouts on an election poster after one of the subjects complained.
PLUS, apparently, the ACL are also currently undertaking robocalls.
I’ve just had a robocall from the Australian Christian Lobby, pushing for more money for private school funding – clearly not enough helipads at schools around the country. Seriously, FUCK OFF.
— Terry Toaldo (@TTAUG10) April 20, 2022
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