Coalition voters don't like charity change

Government voters don't like planned changes to restrict charities from advocating for causes, new polling research shows.

The Turnbull government's plan to overhaul political donations risks angering its own voters, with research showing a majority of coalition voters support charities that publicly highlight issues.

The government has pitched its proposed bill as a way to ensure only those with a meaningful connection to Australia, rather than foreign interests, can influence domestic politics through political donations.

But the move has charities up in arms over the administrative burden and the drain on resources it would impose in being defined as a "political campaigner".

A YouGov-Galaxy poll shows 53 per cent of coalition voters believe charities play a "vital role in highlighting social issues to government, and act fairly towards all political parties."

Just 22 per cent of coalition supporters thought charities were one-sided.

"This research demonstrates that there is widespread opposition to this bill from every corner of Australian society," Australian Council for International Development chief executive Marc Purcell told AAP on Monday.

But the survey of more than 1000 Australians found just 19 per cent of voters believed charities take one-sided and unbalanced positions or favour some political parties over others.

"This is an issue that concerns people across party lines," Mr Purcell said.

"What is at stake here is the voice of the voiceless in Australia."

The polling, commissioned by The Fred Hollows Foundation for the Hands Off Our Charities Alliance, found 61 per cent of women were opposed to the changes, and 61 per cent of Australians over 65 year olds felt the same.

When asked specifically about the government's plan to restrict charities' ability to advocate, 48 per cent of coalition voters opposed the plan, while 36 per cent supported it.

Labor voters were 69 per cent opposed, while Greens voters were 82 per cent against it.

The polling was taken from January 29 to February 2, about the same time Galaxy was collecting the latest Newspoll that showed a swing in support for the coalition.

Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann has previously told AAP all "political actors" - including parties and campaigners - would be subject to the same new rules.

The government says the laws were aimed at improving public confidence in the political system, which had been undermined by reports of foreign influence.

Source AAP

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