10 July 2019

Brad Chilcott notes that while the Government is urging business to speak publicly for law reform, charities are being silenced: “Scott Morrison loves ‘quiet Australians’. The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government especially loves quiet charities, quiet scientists, quiet environmentalists, quiet journalists, quiet human rights commissioners, quiet workers in quiet unions and a quiet public broadcaster. It will burn for anyone who stays quiet — and threaten to burn down anyone who raises their voice. … [I]n Australia a charity who states their opinion about what potential government will be better for the people, communities or environment they serve or represent risks deregistration… This situation is merely the status quo — yet the Coalition has shown a determination to further silence the charity sector and their allies throughout their time in power”, through gag clauses in funding agreements, the appointment of a hostile Charities Commissioner, and attempts to legislate event tighter restrictions. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister openly begs the business lobby to provide political cover for harsher industrial relations laws: “We would expect business organisations such as yours to build the evidence for change and help bring the community along with you too.”