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The ACNC Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns, has written to The West Australian regarding a recent report on the activities of Animals Australia, a registered charity.

The full letter, as sent to The West Australian, is below.

Letter sent to The West Australian

I would like to correct a statement made in an article published by The West Australian on 7 February 2019, Charity watchdog to probe into Animals Australia over live-export whistleblowers.

The writer states, “In an extraordinary departure from the silence that usually shrouds the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s investigations into potential charity wrongdoings, commissioner Gary Johns has confirmed that the animal rights group’s activities are being reviewed.”

My statements were not made to The West Australian directly. They are from a pro forma response to a concern raised with the ACNC about a charity. This does not constitute an “extraordinary departure” from our standard procedure.

To determine whether or not we have the jurisdiction to take a concern further, we must review the evidence available. As The West Australian confirms, the ACNC is aware of allegations and, as is our responsibility, we must review what has been alleged to determine whether or not any action can be taken.

When read in conjunction with the headline claiming that the ACNC will “probe into Animals Australia”, the statement may be misinterpreted to mean something more.

I am not confirming, and cannot confirm, if the ACNC is investigating this charity, or any other charities. The secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act simply do not allow me to make such statements.

The Hon Dr Gary Johns

ACNC Commissioner