Freedom of Speech guaranteed for Non-Government Organisations
Legislation guaranteeing the right of non-government organisations to participate freely in public policy debates has passed State Parliament.
Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion Tony Piccolo welcomed passage of the legislation today, which was introduced in response to so-called gag clauses introduced by the Queensland Liberal Government, preventing non-government organisations from speaking out on issues when they receive state funding.
"The not-for-profit sector does tremendous work in our community, helping some of our most vulnerable citizens," Mr Piccolo said.
"Their ability to advocate on behalf of their clients is an important part of their job, and we believe that preventing them from doing this because they receive State Government funding is fundamentally undemocratic.
"Through this legislation, a non-government organisation's right to take part in public policy debate is enshrined in law.
"It will prohibit State Government agreements from restricting or preventing not-for-profit entities from commenting on, advocating support for or opposing changes to State law, policy or practice.
"Importantly, it applies to all State Government agreements - regardless of whether they were entered into before the legislation came into effect.
"It also specifies that restrictions on the disclosure of confidential or personal information remain in force."
Mr Piccolo said the legislation had been developed in close consultation with the community sector.
"This legislation is a way of ensuring this vital part of our community can continue their work in supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable South Australians," he said.
"I thank all those representatives of the community sector who've been involved in the development of the legislation."