1. Laws relating to the third sector in Australia should be revamped as Third Sector Law, replacing ‘charity law’. These should frame and regulate organisations in the third sector that have all of the following four characteristics: voluntary; independent; not-for-profit; and not self-serving or restrictive in membership.
2. The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission would be replaced with a new body, the Australian Third Sector Commission. It’s purpose is to regulate third sector organisations and ensure that they are voluntary; independent; not-for-profit; and not self-serving or restrictive in membership.
3. Voluntary excludes organisations that have come into existence as a result of a statutory requirement, and organisations established directly or indirectly by government.
4. Independent excludes organisations that have been established to receive or manage a government grant, and organisations that receive more than 50% of their annual revenue from government.
5. Not-for-profit excludes organisations that pay its staff more than three times the Australian median income as measured annually by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (currently ($55,432).
6. Not self-serving or restrictive in membership excludes organisations which restrict access to services or benefits by imposition of an exclusionary or restrictive fee, including (but not restricted to):
a. professional associations, trade unions, private schools, training organisations, residential communities with a yearly membership or service fee greater than $1,000, and
b. private hospitals, health services, employment services, training organisation with an episodic service fee greater than $1,000.
7. Organisations deemed by the Australian Third Sector Commission as meeting the four characteristics of voluntary; independent; not-for-profit; and not self-serving or restrictive in membership would be eligible to receive tax-exempt status and deductible gift recipient status.