Clauses that ban public comment in Commonwealth Government contracts relating to the not-for-profit sector are to be outlawed under new legislation before Federal Parliament.
Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong said the Not-for-Profit Sector Freedom to Advocate Bill had been introduced as part of efforts aimed at safeguarding the right of not-for-profit groups to advocate freely in the interests of the community.
Charities to be free to speak out
Senator Wong said it was important the not-for-profit sector had an independent voice.
She said the Commonwealth was now calling on all State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers to introduce similar legislation to ban the use of gag clauses in their own government contracts.
Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury said gag clauses had previously been used at a Federal level but they had been remove in 2008.
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Housing and Homelessness and Social Inclusion, Mark Butler said gag clauses silenced those who most needed to be heard.
Mr Butler said the new legislation reflected a belief that advocacy from the not-for-profit sector was important and should not be restricted.
“We want this enshrined in law, to ensure that no future government is able to take away from the important role they play,” Mr Butler said.