The peak body of Australia’s community welfare sector, ACOSS, today applauded moves by the Federal Government to legislate to ban gag-clauses in Commonwealth contracts with the community and not for profit sector.
“The community sector plays a vital role in Australian society, both assisting people who are disadvantaged and vulnerable in our community and being active participants in public debates. A strong, independent civil society is essential to a functioning democracy. Preventing groups from speaking out on the basis of funding is an anathema to being an independent non-government organisation,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
“Gag-clauses in contracts are an attack on the legitimate role of civil society organisations and clearly diminish our capacity to represent and advocate for the people that we are here to assist. It has no place in a free modern society such as ours.
“ACOSS had recommended this reform be included as part of the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission. We urge the government to move quickly to legislate this protection as part of the over package of reforms currently before parliament. We look forward to seeing the detail of the proposal, and the legislation passed as soon as possible so this new regulator is up and running on 1 October as planned,” Dr Goldie said.
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ACOSS submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee and the Corporations and Public Administration Joint Standing Committee reviews of the ACNC Bill and consequential amendments.