The HRLC is concerned that the Bill runs the risk of regulating participation in public debate on political matters at large, without sufficient connection to elections. Rather than incur the costs or run the compliance risks built into the proposed regime, civil society organisations are likely to choose to refrain from the public expression of their views to avoid the requirement to register and all that flows from it. The pressure to refrain from engaging in activities that create compliance risks will be especially strong on smaller organisations. This would harm public debate in Australia by discouraging voices that pose no risk of undue or improper influence on Australia’s system of elections.
Following the submission, the HRLC addressed concerns raised by the Bill, download letter here.