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White Ribbon charity collapses over debt

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National charity White Ribbon Australia, which campaigns to reduce violence against women, is to be wound up after failing to pay debts.

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The not-for-profit group campaigns to reduce violence against women.

An insolvency notice published by corporate regulator ASIC says the organisation resolved to shut down during a meeting yesterday.

Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants has been appointed to liquidate the charity, which was more than $840,000 in debt last year according to its most recent financial report.

White Ribbon Australia earned $6.07 million in revenue during the 2018 financial year and had $6.91 million in expenses, including almost $4 million in staff costs, according to the annual report.

A statement published on the White Ribbon Australia website says that “it is with profound sadness that the board of White Ribbon Australia informs the community and supporters that it has taken the very difficult decision to close its doors”.

“This decision became necessary following an analysis of the organisation’s future sustainability,” it says.

“White Ribbon Australia has been proud to serve alongside so many dedicated partner organisations, grassroots communities and government in the important work of ending men’s violence against women.”

The statement continues: “We want to acknowledge those communities around Australia who have been part of the White Ribbon movement – from the dedicated staff, Ambassadors, Advocates, and Committees, to schools and teachers, sports clubs, workplaces and individual members of the community.”

“For all those who are already planning for White Ribbon Day, we encourage you to continue with those plans alongside the international White Ribbon movement. Continue to raise your voice.

“Even though White Ribbon Australia’s journey ends here, we know that the work of our partners and communities will continue. Eliminating men’s violence against women must remain a priority.”

The organisation has suffered a series of public controversies over the past year.

Chief executive Tracy McLeod Howe left the organisation in November 2018, three weeks after Buzzfeed News reported that White Ribbon had withdrawn a position paper saying that “all women should have complete control over their reproductive and sexual health” on the day after abortion was decriminalised in Queensland.

Several of the directors reportedly resigned from the charity’s board in recent years, including former NSW director of public prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery, who stood down over comments he made concerning the sex life of convicted baby killer Keli Lane, aired by the ABC.

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