Appointment of Dr Gary Johns to ACNC

Australian Community Philanthropy believes that the appointment of Dr Gary Johns as Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission is concerning and is calling on the Prime Minister to reassess the appointment.

Since its establishment in 2013, the ACNC has built its reputation through active engagement with a sector that employs 1.3 million people and has a revenue of $143 billion. Charities, not-for-profits and the broader community have confidence in its effectiveness; civil society has benefitted from the presence of an effective regulator to ensure and transparency and openness.

The appointment of Dr Johns is at odds with the Minister Kelly O’Dwyer’s recent statements regarding DGR Reform, which affirmed the government’s commitment to ‘enhance the role of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits’ and ‘ensure continued trust and confidence in the sector”.

‘‘Community Foundations work in partnership with donors, local organisations and the general community to strengthen the places where we live, work and study. The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission has been a welcome addition, increasing public confidence of civil society’s important role in our democratic society.
Australia’s charities and not-for-profits promote the public good and values of equity, transparency and accountability. Advocacy undertaken by the sector reflects our commitment to not just applying Band-Aids to complex social issues, but addressing the root cause of issues.  
It is inconceivable that the views of the head of the national regulator should be in direct conflict with the core values of the not-for-profit sector. Dr Johns has publicly voiced opinions that make his appointment as Commissioner untenable. He has maintained that charities have no place in advocating for change, referred to Aboriginal women as ‘cash cows’ and suggested that people on income support be forced to use contraception. The government would be wise to reconsider this appointment’ Ben Rodgers, Chair of Australian Community Philanthropy.