C20 – Australia’s Civil Society

C20 Summit endorses Communique urging G20 leaders to act on inequality, climate change

Hundreds of delegates from across the globe convened in Melbourne for the C20 Summit on 20-21 June to discuss, refine and endorse key recommendations to be presented to the 2014 G20 Leader’s Summit in Brisbane.

In a world where there is increasing inequality within and between countries, the C20’s primary aim is to ensure that people are put at the center of G20 decision making. Delegates at the summit discussed policy solutions to challenges in the C20’s four key policy areas of Inclusive Growth and Employment; Infrastructure; Climate & Sustainability; and Governance. You can read the background and position papers for each of these themes on the C20 Website.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie and Director of Policy, Jacqueline Phillips attended the summit to discuss opportunities for G20 action to address the growing inequality challenge in Australia. In her speech to the summit Cassandra Goldie called on the Government to show global leadership in reducing youth unemployment and achieving inclusive growth. You can read the media release here.

The C20 communique summarises the requests of the C20 and includes a preamble and specific policy suggestions within each policy area. The communique was presented to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Sunday 22 June.

The communique and associated policy papers hold some key recommendations of relevance to those advocating for equity and inclusion here in Australia, including that:

  • The communique preamble calls on G20 leaders to commit to actions to reduce inequality, thereby increasing the opportunity for sustained economic growth.
  • The communique preamble affirms that economic growth should occur in ways which increase employment opportunities and the self-esteem that valued work brings.
  • The communique affirms that growth should not be at the expense of any sector of the population including women, people with disability, youth, Indigenous Peoples, children, long-term unemployed, low-skilled workers, single parents, LGBTI people and older people.
  • The C20 calls on the G20 to expand universal access to high quality health and education services financed through fair tax systems
  • The C20 calls on the G20 to commit to country growth strategies that include decisive action to alleviate poverty through the provision of effective and efficient social services as well as protections to enable a reasonable standard of living for those outside of employment.
  • The communique emphasizes the importance of employment strategies that enable improved linkages between skills acquisition, employment and labour market accessibility
  • The communique calls for investment in housing, education, communications, internet access and healthcare, in addition to trade infrastructure, energy and transport.
  • The communique reinforces the importance of civil society engagement in high-level economic forums and the vital role that civil society plays in democratic participation and economic development.

You can download the full Australian C20 Summit Communique here

G20 lead-in gets underway with C20 Summit

Global civil society will come together in Melbourne in June for the C20 Summit which is the first of the lead-in G20 ‘satellite’ conferences to debate policy suggestions to be put to the G20. The C20 Summit on 20-21 June, will refine and endorse the specific policy issues and solutions civil society wants the G20 to consider when it meets in Brisbane in November. The C20 (or ‘Civil Society 20′) brings community voices to the G20 as the world’s leaders face massive challenges including fostering sustainable, inclusive growth. In a world where there is increasing inequality within and between countries, the C20’s primary aim is to ensure that people are put at the centre of G20 decision making.

Delegates chairing discussions or speaking at the event include senior representatives of Australian NGOs as well as international speakers across the four key policy issues of: Inclusive Growth and Employment; Infrastructure; Climate & Sustainability; and Governance. You can read the final draft discussion papers for each of these themes on the C20 Website.

ACOSS’ Cassandra Goldie and Jacqueline Phillips will both be in attendance to discuss opportunities for G20 commitments on Inclusive Growth, Employment and Infrastructure to address the growing inequality challenge. This marks a significant opportunity to raise awareness about the impacts of growing inequality.

C20 Conversations now open for participation

Through a public online consultation, the C20 Steering Committee have chosen four focus areas for C20 advocacy:

  • Inclusive growth and employment
  • infrastructure,
  • climate and sustainability, and
  • governance.

The C20 have now set up an online forum called C20 Conversations which will allow the voices of civil society internationally to help shape the policy recommendations around these key themes. You can participate by visiting the website and signing up to share your insights and perspective in the online discussions which will inform the reccomendations.

As the peak body for Australia’s community and social service sector, ACOSS is taking a lead role in the C20 policy deliberations and ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie is co-chair of the Infrastructure working group.

Have your say – Sign up to participate in C20 Conversations

The C20 Summit will take place on 20 and 21 June at Melbourne University. Go to www.c20.org.au/the-summit/ for more informaiton and registrations.

Australia assumes presidency of the G20

December 1, 2013 – Today marks the official commencement of Australia’s Presidency of the G20. Hosting the G20 in 2014 is a big opportunity and a big responsibility for Australia. It allows us to help shape the global economic agenda for the benefit of all countries, and provides the opportunity to showcase the best of our nation.

The G20’s membership includes most of Australia’s largest trading partners – particularly those in the Asia-Pacific with whom we already have close and valued relationships. Australia’s G20 Presidency in 2014 will focus on:

  • Promoting stronger economic growth and more jobs; and
  • Making the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks.

See media release issued by the Prime Minister here.

ACOSS takes lead role in Australian Civil Society 20 (C20)

ACOSS is delighted to be part of the steering committee for the Australian Civil Society 20.

A 14-member committee has been appointed to co-ordinate civil society engagement with G20 leaders.

Mr Tim Costello, CEO, World Vision Australia, has been selected Chair and ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie Deputy Chair.

They will identify key policy positions of non-government sector voices in Australia to feed into the G20 Leaders’ Summit agenda.

Read media release: C20 major step for inclusion of Australia’s civil society 

Cassandra Goldie and Tim Costello C20 delegates in St Petersburg Summit

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie and World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello were selected as Australia’s C20 delegates to the G20 Leaders’ meeting in St Petersburg in Russia in early September (5-6, 2013).

Dr Goldie said she will use her trip to make sure theG20 leaders put “people and improved social standards at the heart of economic policy and decision-making”.

Read Australian C20 statement from St Petersburg G20 Summit from Cassandra Goldie and Tim Costello 

C20 Steering Committee 2nd Meeting 13 September 2013

The meeting began with a report back by Tim Costello and Cassandra Goldie who had attended the G20 Leaders Summit in St Petersburg the previous week.

They identified as positive policy outcomes from the Summit: the Leaders’ recognition that economic growth must be inclusive, the agreement to automatic exchange of tax information by 2015 and the release of the new agenda for the G20’s Development Working Group – St Petersburg Development Outlook.

They also, however, noted the absence of opportunities for civil society engagement with Leaders during the G20 Summit and identified this as an issue the Australian C20 Steering Committee might seek to raise with the incoming Australian Government.

Read full meeting summary notes here. The C20 Steering Committee will next meet on 23 October

Australian C20 Steering Committee members:

  • Mr Joseph Assaf AM – Ethnic Business Awards
    • Ms Jody Broun – National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
    • Rev Tim Costello (chair) – World Vision Australia
    • Rev Tara Curlewis – National Council of Churches in Australia
    • Dr Cassandra Goldie – Australian Council of Social Service
    • Ms Julie McKay – UN Women Australia
    • Professor Rob Moodie – Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
    • Mr Dermot O’Gorman – World Wide Fund for Nature Australia
    • Mr Marc Purcell – Australian Council for International Development
    • Mr Bill Scales AO – Swinburne University of Technology
    • Ms Sally Sinclair – National Employment Services Association
    • Judge Rauf Soulio – Australian Multicultural Council
    • Dr Helen Szoke – Oxfam Australia
    • Mr Greg Thompson – Transparency International Australia


Mitchell urges global role for G20 leader – Australian Financial Review Monday 9 December 2013
A top US Congressman turned global peace negotiator has urged Australia to use its G20 nations leadership year to revitalise world trade and boost global security.

Civil20 Recommendations to the G20 – June 13-14 C20 Summit in Russia
This brochure includes recommendations prepared by working groups to be presented and discussed at the C20 Summit on June 13-14, 2013 in Moscow. An Address to the G20 Leaders, a civil communiqué containing the prepared recommendations, will be adopted at the end of the Summit. In September 2013, the document will be handed to the leaders of the G20 states.

Foreign agents at the Bolshoi: what Australia can learn from the Russian Civil G20 process – By Nancy Waites
Nancy Waites is Head of Policy Research and Government Relations at World Vision Australia

G20 Studies Centre – Lowy Institute for International Studies
The G20 Studies Centre seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of the G20. A particular focus is contributing to Australia’s role as G20 chair in 2014. It does so through undertaking independent analytical research and supporting research networks, both in Australia and overseas, on global economic governance issues and the role of the G20. The Australian Government provided funding to establish the Centre.

The Civil20 Task Force for Preparing a Report and Recommendations to Overcome Inequality
This paper combined input from both academics and civil society members, and drew contributions from civil society representatives from all G20 members as part of the St Petersburg Initiative to Ensure Strong, Sustainable, Balanced,and Inclusive Growth. Speaking to the steadily strengthening call across civil society for the G20’s growth to be shared equitably, the paper put forward a number of policy interventions to address growing inequality in the majority of G20 countries.

Can the G20 Summit 2013 Deliver? Mazher Hussain in Economic & Weekly Times
The core objectives of the G20 Summit, scheduled for September 2013, are stated to be sustainable inclusive and balanced growth and job creation around the world. There is a need for G20 Countries to first evolve and adopt a composite tool – Growth, Equity, Conflict and Sustainability (GECS) Audit – that could enable an integrated measurement of growth, equality, sustainability and potentiality for conflict generation of growth initiatives. Radical reform of international financial architecture would also be required to make available credit to promote small and micro-enterprises. Finally, global tax reforms must be debated to dismantle tax havens and prevent tax avoidance. Mazher Hussain is Executive Director, Confederation of Voluntary Agencies (COVA) and is Director, State Bank of Hyderabad. 


Civil society voices required for global economic solutions to benefit all – February 23, 2014

Australia assumes presidency of the G20 – December 1, 2013

The C20 Steering Committee held its second meeting – September 13, 2013

Australian C20 statement from St Petersburg G20 Summit – September 6, 2013

Tackle inequality within and between nations to boost jobs, economic growth: G20 told – September 4, 2013

C20: Constructive contributions to the G20 – August 1, 2013

C20 major step for inclusion of Australia’s civil society: ACOSS – June 13, 2013

Justice campaigner Tim Costello to lead G20 civil initiative – June 12, 2013


Mitchell urges global role for G20 leader – Australian Financial Review Monday 9 December 2013

Balancing the books on the backs of the poor – By Tim Costello, Friday 6 Sep 2013

It’s not aid or trade, it’s both – Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, September 4, 2013

Putting people on the G20 agenda -Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, September 1, 2013

You’ve heard about the G20, but what is the C20? – ABC Online (blog) – ‎Jul 30, 2013‎

Australia to lead global tax push – Business Spectator – ‎Jul 30, 2013‎