Civil Society Australia aims to provide a
voice for civil society in Australian public life. This is our Public
Please feel free to
comment on this policy. We would like to hear your views.
Public debate in Australia is dominated by vested
industry interests. Corporate, provider and professional interests and their
lobbyists and think tanks exercise a near-monopoly over public policy
discussion. This is as true of health, education and service delivery
industries as it is of banking, retailing and gaming industries.
Civil society is without a vested industry interest. It is relational,
associational and voluntary. It does not have commercial or career interests in
any public policy matter; it's interest is in the protection and enhancement of
relationships, social bonds and freedom of association.
Civil society has an interest in the removal of vested industry interests from
domination of public debate. This interest will be championed by Civil
Society Australia. For far too long, civil society has been absent from the
public arena, and has allowed vested industry interests to prevail in public
discussion and shape public policy.
To this end, Civil Society Australia will participate in public
discussion through traditional media, social media, face-to-face forums and
public events to convey the following two requirements for the removal of vested
interests from public debate:
1. Organisations which have a vested
industry interest in a matter of public policy should either disclose this
interest in public discussion or withdraw from public discussion about the
matter. An 'interest' here means a business or industry advantage or benefit
that would accrue as a result of a particular public policy measure or public
who have a vested industry interest in a matter of public policy should
either disclose this interest in public discussion or withdraw from public
discussion about the matter. An 'interest' here means a financial or business or
career advantage or benefit that would accrue from a particular public policy
measure or public funding arrangement, or from association with advocacy of a
particular public policy or funding measure.
Organisations and individuals with vested
industry interests will frequently claim that their 'motivations' are noble. We
do not confuse 'motivations' with 'interests'. This policy is concerned only
Civil Society Australia will seek broad
society-wide support for these two measures as essential requirements for reform
of public debate and creation of a level playing-field for civil society.
Organisations which hold vested industry
interests, and which are accustomed to advancing their interests in public
debate, will not like this stance of Civil Society Australia. They will
say it is 'unfair' and infringes their 'freedom'. It does not. It simply
requires disclosure of vested interests in public discussion so as to create a
level playing-field for consumers, families and carers, communities and
volunteers, family businesses and mutuals, and voluntary associations.
Individuals who hold vested industry interests, and who are accustomed to
advancing their interests in public debate, will not like this stance either.
They will say it is 'rude' and 'uncivil' to be asked to disclose their
interests. This is particularly the case in social services and NGO affairs,
where individual employees and consultants will insist that their 'motivations'
are noble. This policy does not concern itself with motivations, it is only
concerned with interests.
0425 722 890