Senate debates

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Bill 2012, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Bill 2012; In Committee

10:53 am

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

On 17 September the government announced that it would introduce legislation to ban gag clauses in Commonwealth contracts with the not-for-profit sector, ensuring ongoing positive engagement and open debate between the government and the not-for-profit sector. The government recognises that a strong, independent and innovative NFP sector is essential to provide an inclusive community. In contrast to this, the Howard government tried to silence the not-for-profit sector through gag clauses. The great doyens of freedom of speech, as they always pretend they are, wanted to gag charities. So they tried to muzzle the independent voice of the not-for-profit sector, and it took the election of a Labor government to act to remove these insulting gag clauses in 2008. We are now seeing a rerun. We are seeing Premier Newman doing the same in Queensland—gagging charities. You guys! You pretenders of protection of free speech: gagging charities because they might disagree with what you are doing. It is just a disgrace and you should be ashamed of yourselves. You pretend in this chamber to be a great, great supporter of free speech. The great defenders of free speech! You have actually been gagging charities. You have actually passed laws to gag people. Don't you stand up in here and try and pretend remotely—you are an absolute disgrace.

Senator Cormann interjecting—

Are you in a Collingwood outfit again? You can keep interjecting!


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