Guide Dogs Victoria launches internal investigation after CEO Karen Hayes publicly endorses Treasurer Josh Frydenberg | #socialmedia


Guide Dogs Victoria has launched an internal investigation following its chief executive officer publicly endorsing federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s bid for re-election.

The move may be in breach of regulations for charities set out by a national body.

Karen Hayes appeared in a social media video posted on Mr Frydenberg’s Facebook page yesterday, and she featured in letterbox flyers dropped off in the seat of Kooyong.

In a flyer, Ms Hayes is pictured holding a guide dog puppy alongside the words “Why I am supporting Josh Frydenberg”.

The letter is signed “Karen, Chief Executive Officer, Guide Dogs Victoria”.

In the social media video, Ms Hayes credits the Treasurer with helping the charity complete a $30 million renovation of its Kew headquarters.

“He gives us guidance and connects us with people in the community, or within government, that we need to talk to to make change,” Ms Hayes said.

A message at the end of the video confirmed it was “authorised by Josh Frydenberg”.

The organisation has released a statement saying its board had “no prior knowledge of the distribution of this material and does not endorse it”.

The flyers were dropped into the letterboxes of Kooyong residents.(Supplied)

“The board has launched an internal investigation and requested that this material be immediately removed from circulation,” the statement said.

“The board of Guide Dogs Victoria fully understands the concerns that have been raised by members of the community and from our supporters about this matter.”

The video was removed from the Treasurer’s page on Wednesday morning.

Charity commission says political endorsements not allowed

The Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) website says charitable organisations will be disqualified for “promoting or opposing a political party or candidate for political office”.

Charities are allowed to advocate for changes in law and policy, something that is often seen when parliamentary bills are up for debate or before the release of government budgets.

ACNC commissioner Gary Johns did not comment specifically on Ms Hayes’s actions or whether an investigation was underway.

However, he said endorsing political candidates was not permitted.

“You can sing from the rooftops about your charitable purpose, that you’re in favour of this or that, but not about candidates or political parties,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.



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