Charities Registration Board strips Family First of charitable status

Bob McCoskrie from Family First said the group would fight the decision in the High Court.
FRANCES FERGUSON/STUFF

Bob McCoskrie from Family First said the group would fight the decision in the High Court.

Controversial group Family First has been stripped of its charitable status "because it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes". 

But the group is not going down without a fight, saying it will argue the decision in the High Court. 

The decision by the Charities Registration Board was made public on Monday. It is the second time the board has tried to deregister the group. 

"The board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable," a statement from the board read. 

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"Family First has the freedom to continue to communicate its views and influence policy and legislation but the Board has found that Family First's pursuit of those activities do not qualify as being for the public benefit in a charitable sense."

Headed by Bob McCoskrie, Family First promotes traditional family values, and constitutes marriage to be only between a man and a woman. 

In 2013, the board made the decision to remove Family First from the Charities Register because it did not advance exclusively charitable purposes.

Family First appealed that decision to the High Court.

In June 2015, the High Court directed the board to reconsider its decision in light of the 2014 Supreme Court Greenpeace judgment and its own judgment.

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The latest decision represented the board's reconsideration of Family First's eligibility for registration. 

In a statement, McCoskrie said the group was going back to court to challenge the decision. 

"This is a less-than-satisfactory procedure of trudging back to the same court. It seems that the Charities Board [is] simply hoping for a different judge and a more favourable decision," he said.  

"It is a highly politicised and inconsistent decision by the board and will have a chilling effect for many not-for-profit charitable group." 

McCoskrie said they will fight the "political correctness and muzzling of free speech". 

The board can direct charities to be removed from the Charities Register when they do not advance a charitable purpose for the public benefit and it is in the public interest to remove them. 

 - Stuff

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