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20192022ChangeDirectionElectorate
64 51
Celia Hammond
Kate Chaney
-13 Curtin
64 52
Chris Hayes
Dai Le
-12 Fowler
63 52
Jason Falinski
Sophie Scamps
-11 Mackellar
61 52
Ben Morton
Sam Lim
-9 Tangney
57 51
John Alexander
Jerome Laxale
-6 Bennelong
62 56
Michelle Landry
Michelle Landry
-6 Capricornia
59 53
Ken O'Dowd
Colin Boyce
-6 Flynn
59 53
Trent Zimmerman
Kylea Tink
-6 North Sydney
58 53
Tim Wilson
Zoe Daniel
-5 Goldstein
60 56
Andrew Laming
Henry Pike
-4 Bowman
55 51
Tony Smith
Aaron Violi
-4 Casey
65 61
George Christensen
Andrew Willcox
-4 Dawson
63 59
Ted O'Brien
Ted O'Brien
-4 Fairfax
63 59
Andrew Wallace
Andrew Wallace
-4 Fisher
59 55
Bert van Manen
Bert van Manen
-4 Forde
65 61
Keith Pitt
Keith Pitt
-4 Hinkler
65 61
Angie Bell
Angie Bell
-4 Moncrieff
56 52
Julian Simmonds
Elizabeth Watson-Brown
-4 Ryan
65 61
Scott Buchholz
Scott Buchholz
-4 Wright
57 54
Ross Vasta
Ross Vasta
-3 Bonner
55 52
Peter Dutton
Peter Dutton
-3 Dickson
64 61
Stuart Robert
Stuart Robert
-3 Fadden
56 53
Josh Frydenberg
Monique Ryan
-3 Kooyong
58 55
Luke Howarth
Luke Howarth
-3 Petrie
54 52
Katie Allen
Michelle Ananda-Rajah
-2 Higgins
62 60
Karen Andrews
Karen Andrews
-2 McPherson
54 52
Lucy Wicks
Gordon Reid
-2 Robertson
54 53
Warren Entsch
Warren Entsch
-1 Leichhardt
63 62
Llew O'Brien
Llew O'Brien
-1 Wide Bay
55 55
Ken Wyatt
Tanya Lawrence
0 Hasluck
72 72
David Littleproud
David Littleproud
0 Maranoa
53 53
Terry Young
Terry Young
0 Longman
55 56
Trevor Evans
Stephen Bates
1 Brisbane
58 59
Christian Porter
Tracey Roberts
1 Pearce
51 53
Louise Miller-Frost
Nicolle Flint
2 Boothby
53 55
Fiona Martin
Sally Sitou
2 Reid
51 54
Dave Sharma
Allegra Spender
3 Wentworth
67 70
John McVeigh
Garth Hamilton
3 Groom
58 62
Phillip Thompson
Phillip Thompson
4 Herbert
51 56
Carina Garland
Gladys Liu
5 Chisholm
53 59
Steve Irons
Zaneta Mascarenhas
6 Swan
53 60
Terri Butler
Max Chandler-Mather
7 Griffith

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20192019ChangeDirectionElectorate
70 55
Damian Drum
Sam Birrell
-15 Nicholls
64 51
Celia Hammond
Kate Chaney
-13 Curtin
64 52
Chris Hayes
Dai Le
-12 Fowler
72 60
Adam Bandt
Adam Bandt
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67 56
Paul Fletcher
Paul Fletcher
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65 54
Melissa Price
Melissa Price
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63 52
Jason Falinski
Sophie Scamps
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62 51
Ian Goodenough
Ian Goodenough
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65 55
Nola Marino
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61 52
Ben Morton
Sam Lim
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62 54
Andrew Hastie
Andrew Hastie
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69 61
Alex Hawke
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60 53
Alan Tudge
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64 57
Julian Hill
Julian Hill
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69 62
Maria Vamvakinou
Maria Vamvakinou
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58 51
Kevin Andrews
Keith Wolahan
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64 57
Rick Wilson
Rick Wilson
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72 65
Andrew Giles
Andrew Giles
-7 Scullin
57 51
John Alexander
Jerome Laxale
-6 Bennelong
62 56
Michelle Landry
Michelle Landry
-6 Capricornia
69 63
Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison
-6 Cook
59 53
Ken O'Dowd
Colin Boyce
-6 Flynn
59 53
Trent Zimmerman
Kylea Tink
-6 North Sydney
57 51
James Stevens
James Stevens
-6 Sturt
66 61
Julian Leeser
Julian Leeser
-5 Berowra
67 62
Alicia Payne
Alicia Payne
-5 Canberra
65 60
Ged Kearney
Ged Kearney
-5 Cooper
55 50
Michael Sukkar
Michael Sukkar
-5 Deakin
58 53
Tim Wilson
Zoe Daniel
-5 Goldstein
65 60
Brendan O'Connor
Brendan O'Connor
-5 Gorton
63 58
Angus Taylor
Angus Taylor
-5 Hume

Seats that became safer

20192019ChangeDirectionElectorate
57 67
Madeleine King
Madeleine King
10 Brand
55 65
Matt Keogh
Matt Keogh
10 Burt
55 65
Patrick Gorman
Patrick Gorman
10 Perth
57 67
Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson
10 Fremantle
51 60
Anne Aly
Anne Aly
9 Cowan
56 65
Clare O'Neil
Clare O'Neil
9 Hotham
51 60
Anika Wells
Anika Wells
9 Lilley
53 61
Michelle Rowland
Michelle Rowland
8 Greenway
51 59
Helen Haines
Helen Haines
8 Indi
50 58
Susan Templeman
Susan Templeman
8 Macquarie
55 63
Rebekha Sharkie
Rebekha Sharkie
8 Mayo
51 58
Libby Coker
Libby Coker
7 Corangamite
51 58
Mike Kelly
Kristy McBain
7 Eden-Monaro
53 60
Terri Butler
Max Chandler-Mather
7 Griffith
52 59
Graham Perrett
Graham Perrett
7 Moreton
59 65
Linda Burney
Linda Burney
6 Barton
61 67
Sussan Ley
Sussan Ley
6 Farrer
59 65
Matt Thistlethwaite
Matt Thistlethwaite
6 Kingsford Smith
56 62
Josh Burns
Josh Burns
6 Macnamara
56 62
Milton Dick
Milton Dick
6 Oxley
53 59
Luke Gosling
Luke Gosling
6 Solomon
53 59
Steve Irons
Zaneta Mascarenhas
6 Swan
58 63
David Smith
David Smith
5 Bean
51 56
Carina Garland
Gladys Liu
5 Chisholm
57 62
Kate Thwaites
Kate Thwaites
5 Jagajaga
54 59
Jason Wood
Jason Wood
5 La Trobe
53 58
Gavin Pearce
Gavin Pearce
5 Braddon

Search

RELIGION
[8] ACCOUNTABILITY
[7] INFLUENCE
[5] PRIVACY
[4] DEMOCRACY
[4] CHARITIES
[3] CENSUS
[3] THINKTANKS
[3] WORKER RIGHTS
[2] MEDIA BIAS
[8] ACCOUNTABILITY
[7] INFLUENCE
[5] PRIVACY
[4] DEMOCRACY
[4] CHARITIES
[3] CENSUS
[3] THINKTANKS
[3] WORKER RIGHTS
[2] MEDIA BIAS

The Hidden Wealth Of Basic Religious Charities
Rosie Williams, BA (Sociology)
Religious charities should not be able to hide their wealth- updated with comment from Andrew Leigh.

A version of this article was also published in the Winter edition of the New Liberator, the Journal of the Rationalist Association of NSW.

With the devastating news that Australia's highest ranking Catholic has been found guilty of sexual offences against children (a decision later overturned on appeal), the world's attention has put the spotlight on the treatment of victims by representatives of the Church.

Much has been written about the limited compensation made available to victims and this scrutiny is a hot topic given that the man responsible for the Melbourne Response faced potential conviction of similar offendences, a clear conflict of interest.

Helen Last (chief executive of the In Good Faith Foundation) told The Age (Feb 2018) that there is 'a huge inequity between the Catholic Church's wealth and their responses to survivors'.

The Catholic Church is considered notoriously secretive about their finances. The Age reported that information sought by the Victorian Parliamentary Inqiry into the handling of child abuse by religious organisations in 2013 was never supplied to the Inquiry. So what information is available for public scrutiny and how can so much wealth be hidden from public view?

As there is no flag to divide reporting charities into their religious denominations, the closest available searches (courtesy of AusGov.info) can only total charity financial information by keyword present in their legal name. This kind of search only picks up charities (which includes private schools, hospitals and nursing homes) which have the word 'Catholic' in their name. This most basic search shows an aggregate total assets for matching charities being nearly $8 billion dollars.

Yet the investigations carried out by The Age and reported a year ago suggest this is a vast under-estimation of the wealth of the Catholic Church. While there is no easy way (of which I am aware) to establish a singular list of every Australian organisation owned by the Catholic Church, such a list would only get us so far because the full transparency relies on there being public or at least government access to the financial information for each and every one of these organisations.

No problems you say, isn't that what the charities regulator is for, to require financial reporting from Australia's charities? By rights one would reasonably expect that any of us could contact the ACNC and simply ask them to put a figure on the wealth of the various religious denominations. After all what is the point of a charity regulator if they can't answer basic questions pertinent to establishing the parameters for holding Australian charities to account?

While this is true for most types of charities, there is an exception in the legislation that applies specifically to religious organisations or Basic Religious Charities. It is these Basic Religious Charities that may hold the key to understanding the true extent of the wealth of Australia's religious organisations. The data now made available to the public on charity finances extends back only to 2014 but specifically excludes an unknown portion of wealth held by Basic Religious Charities (BRC).

Prior to the establisment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission to administer the ACNC Act which regulates the charity sector, charities reported to the ATO. It was under the last Labor government that the ACNC Act was introduced and provided a dissenting report to the Liberal's attempt to repeal the Act after winning government in 2013.

Kevin Andrews, as member for Menzies requested carriage of the ACNC legislation while acting as Shadow Minister for Social Services in opposition under Tony Abbott. Once the Liberals won government, Andrews (through his advisor Ted Lapkin a former IPA research fellow) moved to repeal the ACNC Act, throwing the newly established regulator into chaos.

Word has it that the strong opposition to public financial reporting under the ACNC Act was largely attributed to the Catholic Church which Kevin Andrews is thought to have strong ties to.

A senior source with expertise in the ACNC Act believes the legislation only got through by virtue of providing the exception in the Act relieving Basic Religious Charities from the requirement of reporting their finances to the ACNC. Furthermore it is believed that it is in these Basic Religious Charities that much of the Catholic Church's wealth is concealed.

'That’s why Pell resisted the ACNC so much, and got Kevin Andrews at the time to commit the Coalition to abolish [the ACNC] (which they didn’t follow through with)... It would bring a huge amount of transparency to church wealth... At the moment church trusts etc, such as the ones that hold all the wealth for dioceses, are BRCs'.

Not only would removal of the exception bring to light assets that are currently hidden from view, it would also bring church officials under ACNC governance principles. Given the significance of the governance challenges facing Australia's religious sector it is imperative that these organisations be brought under proper scrutiny and be held to account for their behaviour past, present and future.

The ACNC's first five year review completed last December suggested a re-examination of the Basic Religious Charity exception in the ACNC Act but no strong commitment has been made.

I emailed Andrew Leigh for Labor's position on the removal of the exception and comment has now been provided:

Patrick McClure's report into the ACNC contained a number of recommendations around Basic Religious Charities. Sadly, that report seems to have languished on the shelf as the Coalition switched to its 6th minister responsible for the ACNC. Labor will explore all recommendations in the McClure report, in conjunction with stakeholders, if we win office.

Update to this story: In March 2020, in response to the five year review of ACNC legslation, the government decided to ignore recommendations made by the ACNC itself seeking to remove the Basic Religious Charities reporting exception from the ACNC Act, allowing Ausralian churches to continue to hide their true financial position from both the regulators and the public.

It was impossible to ignore the contested political backdrop. As Commissioner, I was responsible for a start-up venture that was threatened with immediate abolition should the government change. During the caretaker period in August 2013 I sought advice from the Australian Government Solicitor. The advice was unambiguous: as a statutory office-holder, I was legally required to implement the ACNC Act until Parliament repealed or modified the legislation. As an independent officer of the Parliament, not an appointee of the government of the day, I could only be removed with parliamentary approval. (Susan Pascoe, Inaugural ACNC Commissioner)
'I'm well aware that Sydney lobbied the opposition very hard on this issue, says Senator Stephens. 'They got to Kevin Andrews early.' - Senator Ursula Stephans (SMH 2013)