Letter: Ensuring Basic Religious Charities are aware of their legal obligations

Dear ACNC,
We write regarding Diwan Al Dawla, an unincorporated body registered as a Basic Religious Charity with the ACNC that has been the subject of recent media reports.
Ensuring Basic Religious Charities are aware of their legal obligations
As you would be aware, Diwan Al Dawla asserts that because it is registered as a Basic Religious Charity, it is exempt from the general law including laws relating to land clearing and developments.
The Rationalist Society of Australia (RSA) is concerned that other Basic Religious Charities may be under similar misunderstandings about their legal obligations and the fact that being a Basic Religious Charity does not exempt an organisation from having to comply with the general law.
Can you please advise:
  1. What steps the ACNC takes to ensure Basic Religious Charities are aware of (i) their legal obligations and (ii) the fact that registration as a Basic Religious Charity does not exempt an organisation from having to comply with the general law.
  2. Whether the ACNC is considering taking any further measures to ensure that Basic Religious Charities are aware of (i) their legal obligations and (ii) the fact that registration as a Basic Religious Charity does not exempt an organisation from having to comply with the general law.
The registration of Diwan Al Dawla 
The RSA is also concerned that Diwan Al Dawla may not be entitled to registration as a Basic Religious Charity.
In correspondence to the Hawkesbury City Council dated 16 March 2018 and 30 June 2018, Diwan Al Dawla asserts that it "is not required to comply with Australian laws" and will not comply with "orders, directions or requirements" imposed by the Hawkesbury City Council. That correspondence also explains that these assertions are a consequence of Diwan Al Dawla having a purpose of operating independently and separately from the demands and requirements of secular authorities.
Given these assertions, the RSA is concerned that Diwan Al Dawla may have among its purposes engaging in or promoting unlawful activity.
The RSA therefore requests the ACNC review Diwan Al Dawla's eligibility for registration as a Basic Religious Charity.
Yours faithfully,
Dr Meredith Doig
President, Rationalist Society of Australia Inc.

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