Turnbull Does Not Mean Easy Ride for Social Sector
15 September 2015 at 10:42 am
Australia’s social sector has been warned that it will need to work hard to convince Malcolm Turnbull that it is critical to building a stronger and more inclusive economy.
Many in the sector would have watched anxiously last night as Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott 54 votes to 44 in a meeting of the Liberal Party to become Prime Minister.
It now seems almost certain that current Social Services Minister Scott Morrison will be promoted to Treasurer.
Assistant Social Services Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, who backed Turnbull and was seen entering the Liberal Party vote with him last night, has been flagged as a possible replacement for Morrison.
Congratulations to Malcolm Turnbull on becoming Prime Minister – a great honour and responsibility. JG
— Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) September 14, 2015
CEO of the Community Council for Australia, David Crosbie, told Pro Bono Australia News the social sector could not afford to assume that life would be easier under Turnbull than Abbott.
“No one in the charities and Not for Profit sector should assume that a new Prime Minister or a new Minister means their value is assumed or that policy makers will automatically accept the significant role charities and Not for Profits play in all our communities,” Crosbie said.
“The sector now needs to be able to convince the new Prime Minister and probably some new Ministers of the value we provide to the Australian community. We need to be part of the national discourse about the social, economic and environment issues we face as a nation and be ready to offer real solutions.
“The incoming Prime Minister has talked about being driven more by values and wanting to promote more discussion about the economy and our future.
“As a sector we need to show we are not just willing participants in these discussions, but that our sector is critical to building both a stronger more inclusive economy, and a stronger more innovative and creative Australia.”
In the past Turnbull has been clear about his views on issues such as marriage equality and climate change.
Last night however he indicated that he would support the Government's current climate change policy while avoiding questions on marriage equality.
Senator Arthur Sinodinos said that Turnbull would stand by the "disposition of the party room" on marriage equality.
Australian Marriage Equality celebrated the announcement of a new Prime Minister, saying in a statement that it was optimistic there would be change with Australia having a Prime Minister and Opposition Leader in support of gay marriage for the first time.
“There have been reports that PM Designate Turnbull's position on the path to marriage equality is consistent with the previous PM. They are based on unverified statements out of his office,” Australian Marriage Equality said.
“He has yet to consult his party and address the issue publicly. It is early days.
“We've called for meetings with the new PM and look forward to working in a new era where all major Australian party leaders support marriage equality.”
— AU Marriage Equality (@AMEQUALITY) September 14, 2015
In announcing his tilt at the leadership, Turnbull also indicated that welfare would be an important part of his Government.
“Remember this, the only way, the only way we can ensure that we remain a high wage, generous social welfare net, first world society is if we have outstanding economic leadership, if we have strong business confidence,” he said.
“That is what we in the Liberal Party are bound to deliver and it’s what I am committed to deliver if the party room gives me their support as leader of the party.”
Best wishes to Malcolm Turnbull becoming Australia's 29th Prime Minister Huge job with huge challenges.Therese and I wish he and Lucy well.
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) September 14, 2015
Crosbie said it was important to acknowledge Tony Abbott’s support of local community groups and his active engagement in working with charities and Not for Profits.
“With Ministerial reshuffles now inevitable, it is also important to note that CCA has enjoyed the opportunity to work with Minister Scott Morrison, primarily because of his willingness to actively listen and work towards solutions rather than taking a predetermined position,” he said.
“Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has also shown a willingness to consider changes to regulations that support the sector. It is to be hoped that both Ministers Morrison and Frydenberg continue to support our sector in whatever role they may move to in a new Turnbull government.”