Advocacy Voice Won’t be Silenced – ACOSS
Thursday, 7th August 2014 at 5:06 pm
Australian Council of Social Service has expressed its concern over the direction of Federal Government policy on the funding of advocacy organisations.
ACOSS Chief Executive Officer Dr Cassandra Goldie expressed her concerns in a speech at the ACTCOSS Conference in Canberra where she said the role of civil society was deeply challenged and that its voice would not be silenced.
“There is an attempt to undermine the credibility of civil society as 'bleeding hearts' who don't understand economy,” Dr Goldie said.
She said the sector needed to get better at amplifying the voice of people affected by inequality in advocacy when communicating with decision makers.
In May, the Federal Coalition Government backflipped on a Budget allocation for the advocacy group, the Refugee Council of Australia.
Former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, earlier this week said the Federal Government was effectively trying to shut down an advocacy voice in the disability sector through funding cuts.
Innes said that despite the Government knowing the efficiency of systemic advocacy, it had chosen to wind it back.
“[The Government] is effectively trying to shut down an advocacy voice against the Government in the disability sector in the way it is funding,” Innes said.
“Some of the contracts that some of the legal centres have had to sign which defund them for systemic advocacy – this is what it’s all about.
“The Government knows the effectiveness of systemic advocacy. The Productivity Commission, in fact, in a recent study determined that systemic advocacy was a very efficient way for advocacy to occur because it doesn’t only do things for one person but a whole group of people and addresses issues that people face.
“The Government very clearly wound that back.”