RSL NSW is suspending meat raffles and other fundraising activity over legal concerns

Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty.

Meat raffles, cake stalls and other fundraising efforts by New South Wales RSL sub-branches have been suspended over concerns that they do not comply with the charity laws in the state.

New RSL president James Brown wrote to the 634 subsidiaries run by volunteers announcing the suspension of all fundraising efforts until further notice. The organisation is now racing to ensure it’s compliant with charity law in NSW before its major Remembrance Day poppy fundraiser on November 11.

Brown, who was elected in May following a spill of the leadership team in the wake of several financial scandals, said an internal investigation revealed that the organisation’s “technical fundraising proceedures are not compliant with the required standards”.

The decision does not effect registered RSL clubs, but means the state’s 123 women’s auxiliaries are banned from guessing competitions, chocolate sales and even bucket collections at events until further notice.

Traditions such as a trading table at lunch are also off limits, along with the meat tray.

“If the club is running the meat raffle, you’ll be safe. If it’s [sub-branch] volunteers, you’ll have to go vegetarian for a few weeks,” he said.

RSL NSW president James Brown. Source: supplied

Brown says there are no concerns that the money had been misused or fraud was involved – it’s simply a case that RSL NSW “does comply with the requirements and obligations of the Charitable Fundraising Ac=t”.

The former army veteran said the organisation “is treating this matter very seriously” as part of a review of the operations of the League amid several investigations into the organisation, including the Bergin Inquiry and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

“RSL NSW understands the significant impact that this directive will have on each of its sub-branches, auxiliaries, and individual members. However, RSL NSW is committed and, indeed, compelled to exercise the power and authority vested in it under the RSL NSW Constitution to ensure our League is fully complying with all legal obligations,” Brown wrote in his letter to members.

“The State Council understands that fundraising is critical to allowing sub-branches and auxiliaries to provide welfare services and we are working on a strategy to rectify this situation urgently.”

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