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National Compact Heralds Period of Constructive Engagement - Opinion

12 April 2010 at 5:28 pm
Staff Reporter
The National Compact heralds a new era of collaboration between Government and the Third Sector, according to the Chair of the National Compact Sector Advisory Group.

Staff Reporter | 12 April 2010 at 5:28 pm


National Compact Heralds Period of Constructive Engagement - Opinion
12 April 2010 at 5:28 pm

The National Compact heralds a new era of collaboration between Government and the Third (not-for-profit) Sector.

The launch of the Compact on 17 March 2010 came after more than two years of Australia-wide consultation between Government and the Third Sector. The spirit of cooperation out of which the Compact was born augurs well for future action in line with its shared Vision, Purpose and Principles.

You can find out more about the Compact on the National Compact website or join the online Compact community website Compact Voice Australia.

I encourage you to share your opinion on what you would like to see emerge from this ‘new relationship’ by joining these and other websites.

I would like to hear your views on what a stronger relationship with Government might actually mean to you, your organisation and the people you work with?

There are many ways in which individuals and organisations from the Third and the business sector can demonstrate commitment the shared Vision, Purpose and Principles of the Compact.

You can sign up as a Compact Partner as many organisations have already done. While this doesn’t carry any obligation, we would hope that your decision to become a partner signifies your intention to encourage a new way of thinking about the future and how your own organisation works with Government.

Our next step is to find better ways to address key challenges to the Sector and together with Government find innovative ways to improve the wellbeing of Australian families and communities. A stronger and more respectful relationship between organisations and the Government will breathe life into the Compact.

The Compact heralds a new era of embracing open and honest dialogue. The Australia of the twenty fisrt century is all about working together in a creative and lasting collaboration that will make a difference for our future. Come and join us in building this new way of working together.

The removal by the Australian Government of the “restraint of advocacy clauses” imposed by the previous government signals a new and more mature relationship. I always wondered why a government would want to gag the very NGO’s that are best placed and informed to contribute to the public debate about those they represented.

I look forward to a period of “constructive engagement” in which the Third Sector can be involved in a productive conversation with the Australian Government and in which, when differences arise, those viewpoints can be respected. In a sense this relationship is a proper outcome of the notion of mutual obligation in which respective sides recognise that they have rights and responsibilities.

Dr Ron Edwards is Chair of the National Compact Sector Advisory Group. He is a founding board member of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation supporting Indigenous youth. He was awarded a Doctorate in Education (UWA 2006) which investigated the factors that can promote social inclusion within society, particularly in an educational context. Ron has been actively involved in programs that seek to enhance social inclusion amongst Indigenous, homeless and disabled people, as well as in the establishment of low fee Anglican schools where he has been on the Council of the Anglican Schools Commission since 1994. He has an active involvement in the seafood industry and is Chairman of Seafood Experience Australia, a seafood promotion company. He was a Member of the House of Representatives from 1983–1993 and now works as a project consultant in the private sector.

*This article first appeared on and was republished here with permission

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