Conference Details

About the conference

The Not-for-Profit Project at Melbourne Law School hosted a major international conference on defining, taxing and regulating the not-for-profit sector in Australia on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 July, 2012. We thank our speakers, chairs and our delegates for their enthusiasm and engagement in a wonderful conference. We would also like to thank all of those who assisted in the smooth running of the conference, especially Julia Wang.

The aim of the conference was to enable academics and other experts to reflect, from theoretical and comparative perspectives, on the theme of defining, taxing and regulating the not-for-profit sector. The conference coincided with a very active period of not-for-profit law reform in Australia, with the establishment of a new national regulator, the statutory definition of charity and other changes to the taxation and regulation of charities and other not-for-profit entities.

For the conference flyer, click here. For a quick overview of the current state of the Australian Government's not-for-profit reform agenda, click here.

The venue of the conference was the Woodward Conference Centre, Level 10, Melbourne Law School (185 Pelham Street, Carlton).


The conference was opened by Assistant Treasurer, the Hon David Bradbury MP, one of the responsible Ministers for the Government's reform.

The conference featured a stellar array of speakers, including:

Keynote speakers

  • Professor Evelyn Brody of Chicago-Kent Illinois University, a leading US academic specialising in taxation of not-for-profits and not-for-profit corporations law;
  • Professor Gino Dal Pont of the University of Tasmania, a leading Australian academic specialising in charity law and author of The Law of Charity; and
  • Hubert Picarda QC, a leading UK charity law barrister and author of The Law and Practice Relating to Charities (October 2010, Supplement Summer 2012).

Please note: For personal reasons, Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes from Queensland University of Technology, who was scheduled as a keynote speaker, was unable to attend.

In addition, the conference featured Mr Robert Fitzgerald AM (Chair of the Advisory Board, Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission), Mr Trevor Garrett (formerly of the New Zealand Charities Commission) and Ms Susan Pascoe AM (Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission) as well as Mr David Locke(Assistant Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and formerly of the Charity Commission of England and Wales).

The conference also featured the following distinguished presenters:

  • Professor Rob Atkinson (Florida State University)
  • Dr Joyce Chia (University of Melbourne)
  • Professor Nina Crimm (St John's University) and Professor Laurence Winer (Arizona State University)
  • Professor David Duff (University of British Columbia)
  • John Emerson AM (Freehills)
  • Dr Jonathon Garton (Reader, University of Warwick)
  • Associate Professor Matthew Harding (University of Melbourne)
  • Fiona Martin (University of New South Wales)
  • Judge Alison McKenna (Principal Judge of the First-Tier Tribunal (Charity), England and Wales)
  • Debra Morris (Reader and Director, Charity Law Unit, Liverpool Law School)
  • Professor Ann O'Connell (University of Melbourne)
  • Associate Professor Adam Parachin (University of Western Ontario)
  • Professor Miranda Stewart (University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Matthew Turnour (Queensland University of Technology) and Elizabeth Turnour (Moores Legal).

As well, we thank the following distinguished guests for chairing sessions: The Honourable Justice Susan Kenny, Emeritus Professor Michael Bryan, Emeritus Professor Michael Chesterman, Murray Baird (Assistant Commissioner, Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission) and Sue Woodward (Director, Policy and Education, Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission).

Program, Abstracts, Papers and Related Materials

Please click here to view the program and speaker abstracts.

The conference papers are available to conference delegates. Please contact the tax group administrator for access.

The following papers and presentations are freely available:

  • Dr Joyce Chia, 'The History and Future of the Definition of Charity' (Paper) (Presentation)

The conference also included reference to the following materials: