The Hon Dr Gary Johns, ACNC Commissioner, 15 July 2018
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is undertaking an investigation into registered charity, Catholic Education Melbourne.
We are undertaking this investigation because of the activities and statements made on behalf of this one charity during the recent by-election for the Federal seat of Batman.
We are commenting on the investigation to clarify matters about the conduct of this investigation that have recently arisen in the public arena.
The investigation is an inquiry about the activities and purposes of the charity. It has arisen from a concern that the charity may have a disqualifying purpose, and therefore may not be entitled to be a registered charity.
The ACNC is a regulator independent of government direction. The ACNC is not directed by government to investigate registered charities, or to reach specific outcomes following an investigation.
Outcomes of investigations can include a simple letter providing regulatory guidance to a charity on the requirements for continuing registration, through to revocation of charitable status.
In the course of an investigation, charities are usually invited to provide information and documents voluntarily. The ACNC may also require information or documents from the charity by a formal notice.
We are required by the ACNC Act to include in such notices an alert to the charity about potential penalties under the Commonwealth Criminal Code for providing false or misleading information or documents. The ACNC in itself does not have any powers to determine criminal matters.