AAMRI welcomes amended Electoral Funding Bill

AAMRI welcomes amended Electoral Funding Bill

16th November, 2018

AAMRI welcomes the news that medical research institutes will not, as earlier feared following the release of proprosed legislation, lose the ability to speak out on public policy issues or be administratively hampered when receiving vital international research grants.

We are pleased to see important amendments passed in the Senate yesterday evening to the Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill 2017, which will allow charities to continue their important advocacy work. We appreciate that Parliament, including government, opposition and cross-benchers, listened to the charity sector and made amendments to address our concerns.

The President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), Professor Tony Cunningham AO, said charities, including medical research institutes (MRIs), have an important role in speaking out on issues relating to them.

“Our concern was that MRIs would have been unable to comment on any policy issues raised by a politician, such as those relating to immunisation or tackling obesity, without being deemed political campaigners and subject to onerous electoral legislation,” said Professor Cunningham.

“We’re pleased to see that our concerns were heard, and this Bill now strikes a much better balance between protecting the integrity of our electoral processes while allowing for charities to speak out on important matters.”

We are grateful for the hard work undertaken by the Hands off our Charities alliance in bringing the concerns of the charity sector to the attention of our politicians.

We would particularly like to acknowledge the support of Bill Shorten, Andrew Leigh, Senator Don Farrell, Senator Mathias Corman and Senator Linda Reynolds whose work ensured that the sector’s concerns were heard and addressed. We also pay tribute to former Senator Lee Rhiannon for her support and work on the Bill.

We look forward to seeing the Bill pass the House of Representatives later this year.