Call for churches to lose charity status over child abuse

A former Assistant Taxation Commissioner has called for churches that failed to protect children from sexual abuse to have their charity status revoked.

Terry Hamilton wrote to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to express his concerns, adding that it was unacceptable for churches to be registered nine months after the royal commission.

Hamilton also wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Australian Taxation Office in regards to these concerns, specifically directed at Catholic Churches.

“These institutions attract significant financial benefits particularly through tax exemptions and charity status,” Hamilton told the Guardian Australia.

According to the High Court, religious institutions can only retain their status as a church body if its activities reflect the character and its practices and if the conduct does not breach or offend against the laws in Australia.

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