Australia’s Not for Profit Sector Must Push the Election Agenda
24 May 2016 at 10:54 am
Australia’s Not for Profit sector must speak with a collective voice and push the election agenda if it is to have an impact in the federal election outcomes, according to socio- political experts in Pro Bono Australia’s latest podcast.
Academics Dr Sara Bice, a research fellow at the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne, and Professor Keith McVilly, who specialises in Disability and Social Inclusion at the University of Melbourne’s School of Social and Political Sciences, explore the federal election issues affecting the Not for Profit sector in the latest episode of Not for Podcast.
“What is going to be critical is for the Not for Profit sector to speak with a collective voice and we are starting to see that emerge already, and what we need for Not for Profits is to really push their agendas in this election where they form coalitions and they press the issues especially in the area of social inclusion,” Dr Bice said.
Dr Bice said Not for Profits could, and already have had, an impact because many are taking a digital approach to pushing their issues around housing, women’s rights and the environment.
“Some of our current research as the School is Government is looking at the way that social media is now being used very effectively as a public policy platform,” she said.
Using research around the coal seam gas issues, Bice said communities that in the past would have been very distant to one another, who would have had difficulty organising, have now been able to connect effectively through social media.
“We have certainly seen substantial results in terms of community protests and the rise of very effective groups like Lock the Gate,” she said.
“Whether it’s women, people with disability, whether it’s migration issues, aged care, indigenous issues.. too often we see groups pushed to the edges of the political debate and NFPs collectively have a role to play to help these groups get to the centre of the debate.”
Professor Keith McVilly said that unless Australia addressed the issues of social inclusion, the controversies these conversations can bring up, and take seriously the fact that social inclusion is going to make for a happier and a wealthier country, the fabric of social society would break down.
“As a community we are missing out on so much if we don’t focus on bringing people together and that involves having conversations about difference but also going beyond difference. It is about having conversations about what we share in common and how we can have a happier… and economically sound community for all not just the chosen few,” McVilly said.
He said the disability sector in particular was primed for a fight in this election campaign to ensure the success and funding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“I think the sector is really wanting to make sure that something such as the NDIS is front and centre in this election, that the bipartisan support for that scheme is continued as we move forward and that the interests of people with disabilities are at the heart and soul of that scheme,” he said
Hear our specialist election commentators unpack the issues that will affect the Not for Profit sector – issues that may make or break the election outcome – in this latest episode of Not for Podcast.