Monday, June 7, 2004

Australia: Silencing Dissent - Report on NGO's

The Australia Institute's report on the role of NGOs is now available.

The report, titled "Silencing Dissent: Non-government organisations and Australian democracy", can be downloaded by going to 'What's New' on The Australia Institute website.

The report begins with an account of the important role played by NGOs in public debate in Australia. It also presents the results of a survey of 290 NGOs. They provide a disturbing picture of the limits on public debate in Australia: For example:

90 per cent of respondents believe that dissenting organisations and individuals risk having their government funding cut; 76 per cent do not believe that current Australian political culture encourages public debate; 74 per cent agree that NGOs are being pressured to amend their public statements to bring them into line with current government policy; and 92 per cent do not believe that individuals and organisations that dissent from current government policy are valued by the government as a part of a robust democracy;

We hope that the report stimulates a vigorous public debate about the role of NGOs and their relationship to government, and I encourage you to read the report and participate in that debate drawing on your own experience.

By Clive Hamilton posted 7 June 04

Dr Clive Hamilton Executive Director The Australia Institute Tel: (02) 6125 1270


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