Charities criticise ‘bizarre’ appointment of Gary Johns as head of regulator

Gary Johns, a Labor minister under the Keating government, is known for his views that charities should not be allowed to advocate for changes to government policy and was head of NGOWatch at the Institute for Public Affairs, which investigated charities the IPA thought were targeting businesses.

Writing in the Australian in 2014, Johns said: “If a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.”

Appearing on TV with the rightwing commentator Andrew Bolt in 2015, Johns reportedly described Aboriginal women on welfare as “cash cows”. “Look, a lot of poor women in this country, a large proportion of whom are Aboriginal, are used as cash cows, right?” Fairfax Media reported Johns as saying. “They are kept pregnant and producing children for the cash. Now, that has to stop.”

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