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Karen's thoughts on the Social Economy

Driving Change in the Not for Profit Sector

Thursday, 22nd August 2013

Driving change seems to be the theme of the week – but isn’t it always. Even our cartoonist Simon Kneebone has picked up on it in his offering this week.

The first ever televised National Press Club event to deliver a debate on the Not for profit sector is being held this coming Friday with 150 attendees changing their plans at short notice to be there.

Kevin Andrews, Rachel Siewert and Doug Cameron will be on the podium at this first-ever event organised by the Community Council for Australia. It’s interesting that Labor didn’t put up their new Community Minister Julie Collins or the Minister for Community Affairs Jenny Macklin who have both had much more to do with the reform process.

Pro Bono Australia is pleased to have been able to provide a sound evidence-base on the sectors appetite for ongoing reform with our Election survey which will greatly inform the debate and the political parties actions post debate – well hopefully!

We had 1500 respondents, 90% of whom came from you, our Pro Bono Australia readers, who filled out the survey on a huge range of issues – the results of which were then tabulated by Les Hems of the Net Balance Tomorrow’s Agenda Research Institute. see the survey here

The survey was a cross sector collaboration with ACOSS, Volunteering WA and VIC, Social Traders, Philanthropy Australia, the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network and the Australian Network on Disability. I thank them for their willingness with short timeframes to be involved. We need more of this collaboration across the sector as the united voice is strong.

This week I was also part of the New Economy Summit hosted by the 3 Pillars Network in the Telstra teleconferencing venue – and the forum was held simultaneously in Sydney and Melbourne with speakers and audience in both venues. They reported that 62 tonnes of carbon were saved by doing this. It was an interesting experience and as we progress the formats of programs will need finessing to keep the joint energy up in both venues. The days program was very well curated by Josie Gibson of Pourquoi.

The speakers were varied and interesting and not your usual – in that there was a fabulous array of folk driving change in their various fields – from James Slezak who kicked it off on “Disrupting Capital “ to ending with John Byrne on Urbanism:Future cities and the New Economy.

I’m sure many of the speakers felt as I have for many years, that they were lone voices and slightly mad in their ambitions for change but now the voices are gathering.

The New Yorker ran an article by Malcolm Gladwell a few weeks ago on “The Gift of Doubt” that is definitely worth a read. Click here.

Karen Mahlab AM is the Founder and CEO of Pro Bono Australia. In 2015 she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to the Not for Profit sector and philanthropic initiatives.
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