NDIS Event – Recording now available

Thank you to all those who attended this important event, both in-person and online.

Thank you particularly to our expert speakers, Zoe Gill, Alan Hough, Paul Paxton-Hall and David Richards who together brought robust discussion and clarity to many aspects of the scheme.

The full presentation is now available for download, along with individual clips of the speakers and the Q&A session.

View presentation

Alan Hough’s PowerPoint presentation

Paul Paxton-Hall’s PowerPoint presentation

(If you experience any problems watching the recordings, please feel free to contact us: avgp@qut.edu.au or 07 3138 1780)


  • Zoe Gill, Assistant Director, Community and Mainstream Engagement, South East Queensland at NDIS and ACPNS alumnus: Zoe will give a brief overview of the rollout, including 10 improvements made in the last year.
  • Alan Hough, Director at Purpose at Work and ACPNS alumnus: For the past six years, Alan has been consulting with nonprofit disability service providers as they have prepared for the NDIS, and as they transferred to the scheme. As part of the ‘honest conversation’ format, Alan will discuss 10 improvements the sector still needs to see from the scheme.
  • Paul Paxton-Hall, Director of Paxton-Hall Lawyers and specialist in nonprofit law: Paul acts for a number of disability service providers, some of which have registered with the NDIS. His practice extends to complaint handling and advice. Paul will advise on how providers should be planning for the Disability Services Royal Commission and the broader issues of quality and safeguarding that nonprofits need to be considering now.  
  • David Richards: David Richards serves on the Board of Management at Technology for Ageing and Disability Queensland. Prior to that, he served on the board for The Osteogenesis Imperfecta Society of Australia for eight years. David is also a guest lecturer at Griffith University in the Physiotherapy department. David has been receiving assistance from NDIS for the past nine months, due to his battle with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a condition which has seen him wheelchair-bound his entire life, and one which also affects his daughter.

Keep up-to-date with upcoming ACPNS events

Upcoming event: NDIS – An Honest Conversation, 15 Apr

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – An honest conversation, 15 April 2019


This is your rare opportunity to join a conversation – in person or online – with those in the know about improvements made and still needed in the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

You’ll hear from people with NDIS connection and experience and have the opportunity to put your thoughts and questions forward in a constructive and informed environment. Or just get up-to-speed on the NDIS state-of-play.

There are limited seats available for this free thought leadership event.

The seminar will be facilitated by Emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes and the panel will include:

  • Zoe Gill, Assistant Director, Community and Mainstream Engagement, South East Queensland at NDIS and ACPNS alumnus: Zoe will give a brief overview of the rollout, including 10 improvements made in the last year.
  • Alan Hough, Director at Purpose at Work and ACPNS alumnus: For the past six years, Alan has been consulting with nonprofit disability service providers as they have prepared for the NDIS, and as they transferred to the scheme. As part of the ‘honest conversation’ format, Alan will talk about 10 improvements the sector still needs to see from the scheme.
  • Paul Paxton-Hall, Director of Paxton-Hall Lawyers and specialist in nonprofit law: Paul acts for a number of disability service providers, some of which have registered with the NDIS. His practice extends to complaint handling and advice. Paul will advise on how providers should be planning for the Disability Services Royal Commission and the broader issues of quality and safeguarding that nonprofits need to be considering now.

Attend in person or online

For those attending online: Guests attending online will be emailed the live-streaming link prior to the event. Can’t attend in real time? You should still register; all registrants will receive a copy of the recording. Have a burning question? Forward your questions to acpns@qut.edu.au ahead of time and we will endeavour to answer them live at the event.


Congratulations Myles!

ACPNS former Director Emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes was recently presented a Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for his contributions toward the administration of not for profits and the laws that govern them.

Myles was an initial appointment when the ATO established a not for profit reference group in 1999 for the introduction of GST in 2000. This served as a point of contact between the sector and the ATO for the implementation of GST and following its success, was morphed into the Not for Profit Stewardship Group (NFPSG).

According to the ATO website, the primary role and focus of the NFPSG is to:

    • consider issues around current tax administration and law as they relate to not-for-profits
    • consult on new policy initiatives proposed by government
    • identify opportunities to improve the tax and super systems – importantly, this includes making it easier for not-for-profit organisations and their representatives to access the concessions to which they are entitled and to meet their obligations
    • gain insights into current issues not-for-profit organisations and their representatives face
    • identify emerging issues or developments that may be of concern to not-for-profit organisations and their representatives
    • partner with the not-for-profit community to find appropriate solutions for issues raised and to improve the not-for-profit client experience in the tax and super systems
    • share key ATO messages with the not-for-profit community.

Upon receiving the award, Myles highlighted the crucial role of thanking volunteers in the context of volunteer management and said “thank you to the ATO for this Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition”.

Free workshop in Melbourne, 7 May – Fostering a culture of philanthropy

If you’re in Melbourne on 7 May, you won’t want to miss this free workshop! Presented by ACPNS Researcher, Dr Ruth Knight, this seminar is about building an internal culture of philanthropy – what it means and what it takes.

Presented in partnership with Philanthropy Australia.


In this seminar Dr Ruth Knight from The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at QUT will discuss the power of creating an internal culture of philanthropy and explore how you can use this culture to improve your organisation’s sustainability – and people’s joy in giving.

This interactive workshop is for CEO’s, Board members, fundraisers and anyone interested in the benefits of developing a culture of philanthropy. Attend the session to explore how intentionally creating an internal culture of giving in 2019 could improve your employee engagement and what practical steps will help you lead cultural change.

Dr Ruth Knight is a researcher and lecturer in nonprofit management and social enterprise at QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies. Ruth has extensive experience in nonprofit leadership roles and gained her PhD researching workplace culture, change readiness and organisational sustainability. Her special interests are culture transformation, developing high performing leaders and teams and measuring outcomes. Ruth is on a mission to advance quality research and practice in the sector to enable organisations to achieve greater social impact.

Register quickly as spaces are limited.

There is no charge to attend this event. Please bring business cards, notebook and pen.


If you have registered but are no longer able to attend, please email acpns@qut.edu.au so someone on the waiting list can take your place.

We thank Philanthropy Australia for partnering with us on this event.

The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies philanthropy australia


Fulbright Nonprofit Leadership Scholarships now open!

Are you an emerging leader in the nonprofit sector or know someone who is?

This scholarship, offered through Fulbright, provides an opportunity for an emerging leader in the nonprofit sector to undertake a program of research and/or professional development in the U.S. with an approved U.S. charitable organisation.

In its 70th anniversary year, the Australian-American Fulbright Commission has more than doubled its offering for Australians to conduct research or study in the United States. Up to 100 opportunities are available for postgrads, PhD researchers, postdocs, academics and professionals in any field or discipline.

Awards of particular interest to the ACPNS community include a scholarship for an emerging leader in the nonprofit sector, The Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership as well as one designated for those in the business/industry sector, The Professional Coral Sea Scholarship, each providing funding for up to four months for research or professional development training.   

To find out more about these amazing scholarships, visit www.fulbright.org.au


New law case: Was the Tattersall’s Club vote to include women members invalid?

Hogan v Fraser & Ors [2019] QSC 27

Supreme Court of Queensland, Martin J, 21 February 2019

This case concerned the affairs of an unincorporated association, the Tattersall’s Club (the Club). The Club was originally formed in Brisbane in 1865 as a settlement club for those involved in the horse-racing industry. It was, and remained, a men’s club until this century. Attempts to change that position were undertaken in 2003, 2005 and 2006. Finally, in 2018, the membership rules were changed in a ballot that succeeded in approving women members by 37 votes. The applicant contended that the ballot was not conducted in accordance with Club Rules and was invalid. The respondents were the Club’s committee members, who are invested with the entire control and management of the affairs and property of the Club.

Three issues were argued:

(a) should the court intervene in the internal affairs of the Club?

(b) was the ballot conducted in accordance with the Club Rules?

(c) were there discretionary reasons for not making the declaration sought?

On issue (a), there is a long line of authority that a court will not intervene in the internal affairs of voluntary associations, with the first and main example being Cameron v Hogan [1934] HCA 24. Therefore, for the applicant to obtain relief he had first to demonstrate that the policy enunciated in Cameron v Hogan did not applyThe applicant advanced three grounds to support the intervention of the court:

(a) that there was a public interest in the enforcement of the Club’s Rules;

(b) that the applicant had a sufficiently important personal interest in play: and

(c) that the Rules of the Club were contractual in nature.

Whilst it was recognised that some voluntary associations, such as political parties, do fulfil public roles by virtue of their size and activities, this was not the situation in this case. The court said that it agreed with previous authority that if the principle enunciated in Cameron v Hogan applied fairly to the circumstances of the case before the court, then it must be applied (at [20]).

On issue (b), there are a number of authorities which support the proposition that where the decision of a domestic tribunal affects a person’s livelihood then a court can intervene if it is alleged that the decision was made without good faith: see e.g. Australian Football League v Carlton Football Club Ltd [1998] 2 VR 546Mitchell v Royal New South Wales Canine Council Ltd [2001] NSWCA 162(2001) 52 NSWLR 242. Other authorities differed as to the principles involved. In this case the court held that (at [30]):

…it is unnecessary to attempt to resolve the differences of opinion exhibited in the cases referred to above. The plaintiff has not demonstrated an interest which is similar to or analogous to the reputational rights considered in Carter [Carter v NSW Netball Association [2004] NSWSC 737] and the other cases which followed. The only interests identified are:

(a) the benefit of membership of the Club – but no argument was advanced to demonstrate how that would be adversely affected,

(b) access to the Club’s considerable facilities – again no argument was advanced to demonstrate how that would be adversely affected, and

(c) association with the rest of the members.

Moreover, the objects of the Club do not refer to, and are not directed to, any particular sex. The restriction of membership to men is the subject of a rule only.

As to issue (c), the rules of the Club did not contain any contractual provision. Therefore, a contract would have to be implied. The court held that there was no contractual relationship to be discerned (at [37]). If the Club wished for contractual relations with its members it should have incorporated as an association or as a company limited by guarantee.

Since none of the issues raised pointed to any ground for intervention by the court, then the matter was not justiciable (at [42]).

His Honour then went on to consider the validity of the ballot in the event that the matter had been justiciable. The main issue in this regard related to the fact that voting envelopes did not have the member’s number pre-printed on them.  Rather, the member had to write the member number on the envelope himself. The court could not identify a difficulty with this process within the Club Rules (at [63]):

The requirement that a member write his number on the envelope rather than having a numbered envelope provided will still serve the purpose of identifying those members entitled to vote which must be the substantial purpose, under the Rules, for the inclusion of the membership number. This is a minor departure from a part of the procedures set out under Rule 14. The practical effect remains the same. The process adopted was substantially consistent with the process for elections by postal ballot set out in Rules 13 and 14.

Since the court will not, generally, grant relief where all that can be shown is a minor breach of the rules without any apparent consequence for the integrity of the election, there were no grounds for discretionary relief. Therefore, the ballot was valid regardless of the justiciability of the case.

View the case

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits – Webinar recording now available

We would like to thank all who tuned in to our Strategic Planning for Nonprofits webinar. We hope it was helpful and thought provoking as we look forward into 2019.

The New Year is a perfect time to reassess your organisation’s strategic plan; what’s your mission, what do you want to achieve, and how are you going to prioritise the areas deemed most important to the health and success of your nonprofit organisation, philanthropic foundation or social enterprise?  

These are all crucial discussions for your leadership team. But defining a strategic plan is more than that. It’s also a unique opportunity for cultural transformation. By including everyone; your board, staff and other stakeholders in the planning process, you will be fostering a more collaborative and inclusive culture – and you could also be uncovering some creative and insightful ideas you may not have thought of before.

We were joined two of the world’s leading thinkers on the topic – Denise McNerney, President of iBossWell in the US/ President-elect for the global Association for Strategic Planning and Lewis Atkinson, systems thinker and architect of strategic and social change at Haines Centre Australia – for this fascinating webinar.

What we learnt:

  • why strategic planning is essential to your organisation’s success;
  • key steps to devise an effective strategic plan;
  • what culture helps you make decisions; and
  • tools to engage all your stakeholders in the planning process.

If you missed the webinare or would like to re-watch it, you can now access a recording by following this link: https://youtu.be/e1Tp5lmiDXU

The PowerPoint slides are also available through Dropbox. Access the PowerPoint slides

Using Human-Centred Design for Social Innovation and Social Impact Intensive

Thursday 30th and Friday 31st May, 2019
9am – 5pm
QUT Gardens Point, 2 George street, Brisbane, QLD 4001

We are excited to invite you to our intensive course on Using Human-Centred Design for Social Innovation and Social Impact. The human-centred design (HCD) process is being applied across industries, sectors and the globe to solve complex social problems. This practical learning experience aims to better equip leaders when looking to make an impact in complex societal problems.

You’ll learn:

  • The steps of the HCD process to create innovative solutions to real-world challenges
  • Strategies for understanding complex social problems
  • To build rapid prototypes to make ideas come to life
  • To implement organisational learning and greater social impact

Find out more about this course or register 

Are we getting closer to our goal to #fixfundraising?

Justice Connect have just posted a media release highlighting the need to #fixfundraising, a bid supported by many peak bodies and nonprofits across the nation, including ACPNS.

Read ACPNS’ submission here

Powerful charity coalition responds to Senate’s damning report on fundraising regulations

Media release

15 February 2019

The powerful coalition of peak bodies that has been calling on Governments to fix fundraising for years agrees with the Senate Select Committee’s Report into Charitable Fundraising in the 21st Century in its finding that the time to fix fundraising ‘was more than 20 years ago’.

The coalition acknowledges the work of the Committee and its recognition of the contributions of organisations within the charity sector to the inquiry ‘despite the number of previous inquiries examining the issue that have not borne results of any significance’. The Senate report very clearly finds the current fundraising regulations are an unworkable impost on Australia’s charities. The coalition supports the findings in the Senate fundraising report, but is concerned that they do not clearly identify a way forward.


DYO – Three questions nonprofits should be asking themselves in 2019

Thank you to ACPNS Executive in Residence, Dr Glenn Poole for this article.

Three issues to think about at the start of 2019

Before we rush headlong into a new year, it may be useful to stop and reflect on what we can learn from 2018 and the challenges for 2019 that we are already aware of. We may then be better prepared for the journey ahead.

1. What can we learn about good governance from 2018?

Although many of the poor governance examples exposed in Royal Commissions and other inquiries in 2018 related to private sector entities, there are lessons also for nonprofit leaders. For example some of the conclusions from the APRA inquiry of practises at the Commonwealth Bank were:

  • An over-confidence in the operation of the Board and its committees and a lack of benchmarking to assess effectiveness
  • Weaknesses in how issues, incidents and risks were identified and escalated through the organisation
  • Inadequate reporting of customer complaints to the executive committee and the board, and
  • An operational risk framework that worked better on paper than in real practice.

Thankfully, many nonprofit organisations have a better focus on their operating culture than our business sector friends. But we can all benefit from a deep discussion of the issues identified by the various inquiries. And there is more to think about now the banking inquiry report has been released.

2. Are our Board members financially literate and able to make sound financial decisions?

My experience is that accounting professionals are often seen as the main people around a board or committee table who have responsibility for the financial health of the organisation. Fortunately, this view is changing as we see the outcomes of regulatory action in cases of organisational failure.

All board and committee members need financial literacy skills to ensure that they adequately understand the financial health of their organisation.

As accounting professionals, we can assist our board members in increasing their financial skills. We can also assist them by ensuring that our financial statements and reports not only comply with the standards and regulatory requirements but are also able to be understood by our organisation’s leaders.

3. Are we ready to comply with new accounting and reporting standards?

All accountants will be only too aware of the changes that occur to the accounting standards and pronouncements by the Australian Accounting Standards Board [AASB]. The new year will again bring new reporting requirements for nonprofits and other entities.

In 2019 we have the introduction of changes from:

  • The new standard AASB 16 Leases
  • The new standard AASB 15 Revenue and AASB 1058 Income for nonprofit entities.

These standards are applicable for reporting from 1 January 2019. The new provisions have been available for some time. So finance managers should have strategies in place to ensure compliance in the preparation of this year’s financial statements. If this is not the case, urgent action is required now.

However, there can be last minute changes. The AASB announced in November 2018 a possible change to the application of the new lease standard [AASB 16]. This change may provide for a deferral of the requirement in AASB 16 for nonprofit organisations to value right of use assets under peppercorn leases at fair value. A final determination of the approach is expected shortly. Though it is likely to be a deferral of the requirement rather than a complete abandonment of the requirement.

This reinforces the need for accounting professionals to stay in touch with the changing reporting standards.

Thanks for reading! We hope you’ve gleaned some great pointers for the year ahead! There’s heaps more so visit our site at www.qut.edu.au/business/acpns

Did you know …..

ACPNS offer courses for staff, board and other volunteer professionals who work, or are entering the philanthropy, nonprofit or social enterprise sectors. There are units that deal specifically with governance and accounting and financial issues.

Read more of the Developing Your Organisation series

Three Great Resources Grantseekers and Fundraisers Should be Tapping Into by Eleni Gill

Three Key Questions to Ask Before Starting a Social Enterprise by Dr Craig Furneaux

Three Ways Nonprofit Boards Can Improve Its Team by Dr Ruth Knight