Monday, June 3, 2013

Not-for-profit Sector Freedom to Advocate Bill

You wouldn't know about it from the media, but last week the Federal Parliament did something good – in fact, very good, for the quality of our democracy.

The Not-for-profit Sector Freedom to Advocate Bill 2013 was debated in the House of Representatives, where it was supported by both the Government and the Opposition. The Bill originated in the Senate, where it also received support across the chamber.

When passed the Bill will prohibit Commonwealth agencies from including in agreements with not-for-profits terms that prevent them from 'commenting on, advocating support for or opposing a change to any matter established by law, policy or practice of the Commonwealth' (cl 5). It will also void any such terms in existing agreements.

This is an excellent reform and Federal MPs should be proud of it. The NSW State Government should introduce it in relation to State agencies and not-for-profits, including community legal centres.

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