Labor is saddened by the most recent comments by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits commissioner Gary Johns. The revelations have come last night in evidence before Senate Estimates where the Commissioner publicly confirmed he still holds troubling views about charities, welfare recipients and indigenous mothers.
SENATOR MCALLISTER: Dr Johns, you've previously argued that people on government allowances should be required to take contraception. You've described indigenous mothers as cash cows, attacked indigenous charities and criticised Beyondblue. Have you done anything to dispel any perception of bias that might have arisen from those previous public comments?
JOHNS: No and I don't need to as the commissioner.
SENATOR MCALLISTER: It seems fairly more directly relevant to your role than an acknowledgement of country, because those remarks go very directly to the charitable purposes of the organizations that you regulate.
JOHNS: They're not in my signature block. That's the issue. They carry the Commonwealth seal, if you like, the ACNC which is a Commonwealth body under law. That’s my concern.
SENATOR MCALLISTER: So have you disavowed those views, Dr Johns, or are they still your views?
JOHNS: Sorry, I missed that.
SENATOR MCALLISTER: Have you disavowed those views?
JOHNS: Absolutely not. I don't, you know - I'm quite public. I've written for 30 years about a whole range of matters. Why would I seek to disavow any of that.
Mr Johns’ attitudes to Indigenous Australians, women, the LGBT+ community and our charity sector across the board mark out a man who is drastically out of touch with the Australian community.
He reflects the true colours of the Coalition government – unsurprising as he was hand-picked by Peter Dutton’s hatchet man, Michael Sukkar, and signed on under former Treasurer Scott Morrison.
We know this out-of-touch government put Gary Johns in charge of the nation's charities commission. What remains to be heard is their explanation of how he can possibly remain there given his comments.
Is Zed Seselja, the sixth minister responsible for charities, comfortable leaving Mr Johns in his role regulating Indigenous charities given his comments on indigenous women ? Should he regulate mental health charities given his beyondblue comments? Can he fairly regulate inclusion charities given his comments on LGBT+ organisations?
Is the Prime Minister confident that Mr Johns has adhered to APS values?
Our nation’s charities deserve answers.