Civil Voices Are Speaking Up for Advocacy
30 August 2017 at 4:40 pm
Hundreds of social sector organisations have had their say on the issue of advocacy as part of an initiative to collect data on how the sector uses its voice in support of community.
Since launching the Civil Voices nationwide survey on 17 August, Pro Bono Australia has received more than 800 responses from not for profits keen to speak out on the ability of their organisations to advocate on matters of public interest.
The survey, commissioned by Pro Bono Australia in collaboration with the Human Rights Law Centre, aims to collect an evidence base to the current state of advocacy in Australia, with the findings used to stimulate public discussion and published in academic journals.
University of Melbourne lecturer Dr Andrea Carson, one of the researchers leading the project, said the survey aimed to understand where Australia’s NGOs fitted into the global picture of democratic freedoms.
“In 2004 we learned of serious factors affecting Australia’s non-government organisations’ freedom of expression and public voice. Thirteen years later, it is time to know if the civil space for ideas and advocacy has improved or deteriorated in Australia,” Carson said.
“We know that public trust is falling in other parts of the world and having your voice heard is not to be taken for granted as measured levels of freedom have fallen globally.
“To understand where Australia’s NGOs fit into the global picture of democratic freedoms we, as researchers, are surveying the NGO sector. This comprehensive study will enable us to better understand the challenges and opportunities in the digital age for this vital sector that provides services, advocacy and support to Australians in need.”
CCA CEO David Crosbie said it would be great to see thousands of charities complete the survey to provide “much needed data on how the sector uses its voice in support of our communities”.
“For a democracy to thrive, the voices of the most marginalised and disadvantaged must not only be heard, but listened to,” Crosbie told Pro Bono News.
“Charities play a critical role in voicing the concerns of their communities – often speaking up for the marginalised, arguing for the arts and animal welfare, taking on the big vested interests who might profiteer in areas like housing, health and education.
“To better understand and support the voice of charities, we need better information about the advocacy activities of as many charities as possible. This is why CCA, along with many others, is committed to supporting the Pro Bono Civil Voices survey.”
The survey is open until Friday 22 September 2017 with a report expected to be published at the end of October.
To complete the survey see here.