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Krystian Seibert: Developing philanthropy in Australia

In this episode we talk to Australian philanthropy expert Krystian Seibert about his work with the Productivity Commission’s Public Inquiry on philanthropy, including their recent draft report “Future Foundations for Giving” which sets out findings and recommendations on developing philanthropy in Australia.


  • How did the Productivity Commission report on philanthropy come about, and what is the aim behind it?
  • What is the history and current context for civil society in Australia?
  • Do recent critiques of philanthropy in the US and elsewhere resonate in the Australian context? (E.g. that philanthropy exacerbates inequality, that it is anti-democratic, that some sources of wealth are “tainted” etc.)
  • Are the levers for using government policy to influence philanthropy necessarily limited by the fact that it is inherently something that exist independently of govt and is based on the free choices of individuals?
  •  Is there anything we can do to be more ambitious when it comes to using policymaking to build a stronger culture of philanthropy?
  • Does government have a wider role in setting a positive narrative about the role of giving (even if this doesn’t involve actual funding or policy change?)
  • What does the current system for tax relief on donations in Australia look like
  • What is the underlying rationale for governments offering tax relief on donations?
  • Why does the productivity Commission report conclude that the current system is “not fit for purpose” and what is recommended to remedy this?
  • Why is it so important to have a philanthropic funding body owned and operated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities? (Is a practical thing about money not currently getting to where it needs to, or a more principled argument based on claims of justice?)
  • Does the negative result of the 2023 referendum on establishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice mechanism bolster the case for a philanthropic entity of kind outlined, or does it make it make it harder to achieve?
  • Do private ancillary funds correspond that what we would call foundations in the US/UK context?
  • How much pressure is there currently in Australia to consider increasing the minimum payout requirements?
  • What role can government play in improving the data landscape around philanthropy?
  • How could this help foster more/better giving?

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