White Ribbon Australia, a charity established to prevent violence against women, is shutting down.
The shock closure was announced on Thursday after an “analysis of the organisation’s future sustainability”.
“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,” a statement posted to White Ribbon’s website said.
The organisation went into liquidation on Wednesday ahead of White Ribbon Day on November 22.
“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,” the board said.
White Ribbon’s latest financial report, lodged with the charity regulator in March, revealed it was in the red by more than $840,827, despite a total revenue of more than $6 million.
It spent $7 million on staff and suppliers in the financial year to June 2018 compared with $4.9 million the year before, when it reported a profit of $298,481.
The outfit had also come under fire in recent years for controversial decisions including accepting money from a Sydney hotel seeking government approval for poker machines.
White Ribbon took the money in December 2017 but later declined it after realising the donation was being used as part of a licence application.
Last year the charity stripped then-NSW Labor leader Luke Foley of his ambassador role after accusations he indecently touched a female journalist.
It has also previously been reported White Ribbon’s former chief executive Tracy McLeod Howe had withdrawn the charity’s support for women’s reproductive rights.
The move was later reversed after fierce public backlash and Ms McLeod Howe was removed from the role.
Ms McLeod Howe commented on a Sydney Morning Herald story about the liquidation on Facebook on Thursday.
“This place was a financial mess for years before me,” she said.
“Don’t spend more than you make. And don’t look for scapegoats.”
The not-for-profit also lost chairman Nicholas Cowdrey after the former NSW director of public prosecutions made misogynistic comments about convicted baby killer Keli Lane’s sex life.
He told an ABC documentary he believed Lane was not a threat to the general community but a risk to the “virile young male portion of the community”, adding “that’s not grounds for putting her in prison, of course”.
Labor spokeswoman for family violence prevention, Linda Burney, said the federal government needs to ensure there are more programs and partnerships to tackle the problem.
“White Ribbon fulfilled an important role in placing the onus on men, as the predominant perpetrators of violence against women, to take responsibility and play their role in ending family violence,” Mr Burnie said.
“The Government needs to make sure there are more of these programs and partnerships, not less.”
The charity was established in 2007 and Australian entertainer and former lawyer Andrew O’Keefe was named chair of the board.
Worrels Solvency and Forensic Accountants firm is handling the liquidation.
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