Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Labor moves to ban gag clauses in Not-For-Profit sector

Ministers:

The Hon Julie Collins MP
Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development
Minister for the Status of Women
The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Finance and Deregulation

Legislation will be introduced to ban gag clauses in Commonwealth contracts with the Not-For-Profit sector, ensuring ongoing positive engagement and open debate between the Federal Government and the sector.

Minister Mark Butler said Labor recognises that a strong, independent and innovative NFP sector is essential to building an inclusive community.

“The Not-for-Profit sector is a key partner in developing and delivering major policy reform and creating opportunities for all Australians,” Mr Butler said.

“The past few weeks in Queensland have reminded us of the dark days of the last Coalition government, when John Howard attacked the rights and legitimate role of the NFP sector and diminished its capacity to represent and advocate for its members.”

In 2008, the Labor Government removed the gag clauses imposed by the former Coalition Government that restricted the sector from engaging in policy and political debate.

“Now we’re seeing Campbell Newman try to do the same in Queensland,” Mr Butler said.

Minister Julie Collins said gag clauses censor public debate.

“Labor’s approach is starkly different to the decade of no reform, no vision and no action we saw from the previous Coalition Government for this vibrant and important sector,” Ms Collins said.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said the legislation would build on the Government’s reforms to the NFP sector, including the new charities commission, by ensuring gag clauses are not used in any Commonwealth funding agreements.

“Our reforms recognise and embrace the critical role the sector has in advising and developing public policy and in advocating on behalf of members and constituents,” said Mr Bradbury.

The NFP sector is made up of around 600,000 organisations and accounts for approximately 8 per cent of employment nationally.