30 May 2007

Concern in Australia over Aidwatch losing charity status

3:47 pm on 30 May 2007

There is concern in Australia following the aid monitoring body, Aidwatch, being stripped of its status as a charitable organisation by the Australian Tax Office.

The ATO says the agency is not a charity because it is lobbying for changes in Australia's aid policies.

Aidwatch is appealing the decision.

Greens' Senator, Rachel Siewert, says the tax office's move immediately after Aidwatch issuing a hard hitting report criticising Australia's aid spending may be coincidental, but she says it's another example of the government attacking NGOs which speak out.

"Aidwatch is not the only organisation in Australia that has been facing these sorts of threats. The Wilderness Society I know has been discussed in Cabinet. I know that senators have attacked them in the Senate for the advocacy that they do and I believe that this is part of a pattern of this government and I am very concerned that they will start attacking other non government organisations in this country."

Rachel Siewert