Australian Civil Society Time To Be Polite

The C20 Summit Society will be one of many events that prepare for the G20 Leaders Summit in Australia later in the year. It will start in Melbourne on Thursday. The C20, or Civil Society 20, aims to provide. A platform for dialogue between political leaders from G20 countries and representatives civil society organisations.

In June 2010, Toronto hosted the first meeting of civil society organizations before a G20 summit. This meeting held in Toronto to get a better understanding of the G20 agenda, and to build strategic connections before the G20 meetings in South Korea and France.

C20 deliberations now form an integral part the G20 agenda. This was a process that was establish in 2013 during the Russian G20 presidency. The 2014 C20 summit, chaired by Reverend Tim Costello and featuring more than 60 leaders representing all aspects of Australian civil society, focuses on the themes of inclusive growth and employment; climate and sustainability; and governance.

C20’s organising committee reach to its crowdsourcing platform C20 conversations to get civil society’s input on the G20. The C20 clearly focuses on the state and future prospects of the global economy. It is important to ask where Australia’s civil society is in Australia’s first year of being G20 president.

Will civil society rise up if the government believes in taking a step back? Will civil society leaders compete for a smaller funding pie? Or will they try to play nice with the government in order to get a seat at the table?

Faced with a tight budget and growing anxiety over the yet unreleased findings from the Welfare Review conducted by former Mission Australia CEO Patrick McClure as-yet unreleased, civil society organisations may need to come together and be less civil.

What Is Civil Society?

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called civil society the new superpower in 1998. This was an ambitious claim. It has been a fact that civil society has become a buzzword in recent years some would say a weasel term and has co-opted by politicians from both the left-leaning and right.

The Cameron government in Britain has taken the title, jettisoning the Third Sector, in favor of civil Society. This term loaded with ideologies and tied to Big Society. The Abbott government in Australia has abandon the term not for profit sector, which seen as belonging Labor, and instead adopt civil society, perhaps to sugarcoat the end of the age o entitlement message.

Kevin Andrews, the shadow minister for human services, referred to Edmund Burke’s little platoons in a speech he gave in 2012. To foster competence and character, build trust and empower children to become good citizens and good people

This view is consistent with the belief that government should be minimal and non-intrusive, while civil should stand alone and independently.

Minister For Social Services

Andrews, the minister for social services, reiterated these views at this month’s Australian Council of Social Service conference (ACOSS). Andrews stressed the role of civil in developing civic virtue, community responsibility, and the importance to maintaining its independence form state control, and added that.

Too much intervention can make it difficult for citizens to do what they want. Andrews clearly states that virtuous citizens are self-reliant and economically productive, as well as well-behaved.

Civil society is more virtuous if its advocacy is focused elsewhere than the developed world. In the eyes of the government. Politicians tend to see civil society’s actions as less noble when they focus on the regimes where they are located. Then civil society is seen as more of an irritant.

Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, recently expressed concern that the Abbott government was sending out a strong message. That civil society should not be silent, in reference to Scott Morrison’s statements. That public money should not be used for advocacy.

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