The C20 Summit will be one of many events that prepare for society 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 was 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 conduct 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 been co-opted by politicians from both the left-leaning and right.
The Cameron government in Britain has taken the title, by jettisoning the Third Sector, in favour of civil Society, which is now loaded with ideological baggage and tied to Big Society. The Abbott government in Australia has abandoned the term not for profit sector, which is seen as belonging Labour, and instead adopted civil society, perhaps to sugar coat 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 people and good citizens. This view is consistent with the belief that government should be minimal and non-intrusive, while civil society should be independent and stand on its own.
Minister For Social Social Services
Andrews, the minister for social services, reiterated these views at the ACOSS conference this month. Andrews stressed the role of civil society in developing civic virtue, community responsibility and 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 focus 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. This makes civil society more of an irritant.
Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, recently express 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.
Is It Possible To Form Creative Alliances?
Pascal Lamy, the former Director of the World Trade Organisation, called for creative alliances to form multi-stakeholder partnerships among government, civil society, and business. To inspire deeper change, learning, and practical action.
It is unclear, however, if the Abbott government is willing to take advantage of opportunities to engage constructively in civil society. It is not clear that Australian civil societies organisations have the maturity to work constructively with government and with businesses to solve complex and pressing policy issues.
To paraphrase Orwell, civil society has many voices and not all voices are equal. Many believe that the marketization of public services in the last two decades has had a detrimental effect on the collegiality of some parts of civil society. Money is just like in business.
Large, nationally, highly-professionalised, and more corporate social services organisations have seen the greatest gains in voice as well as policy influence what we could call Big Charity. Big Charity understands that its ability to influence policy is directly. Proportional to its willingness and capacity to be civil in its dealings to government.
The Road Ahead Society
Australians are more dependent than ever on a significant part of civil society, the Australian not for profit sector. Governments have never been as dependent on not-for profits’ ability to deliver their policies. This sector is a strong collective force, but evidence does not support its ability to act collectively.
Danielle Cave, Lowy Institute’s Danielle Cave, warned in 2012 that aid NGOs would face danger. If they fail to be strategically involve with the future development of the aid program. It would be only when the money stops, that the thinking will begin, she said.
Many civil society organizations will soon be out of money due to the McClure welfare review and the federal budget. It is now that civil society leaders need to think. It’s time to forget about the politics of the internal sector and join forces.