Australians are generous people. Four in five Australians donate to charities. They feed the hungry. They help save the lives of children around the world. With charities like ACF, they protect forests, reefs, and animals.
Speaking up for what's right is a vital part of the work of charities. We speak up for the vulnerable, for human rights, and to hold the powerful accountable. We speak for the trees.
But the Turnbull government wants to silence us. They plan to introduce legislation preventing advocacy by charities from who have donors who live overseas. And right after restricting donations, they plan to strip back environment groups right to advocate.
That's why with dozens of other charities who advocate for a better, fairer world, we've launched a collaborative campaign to say, Hands off our charities!
Community organisations must have a voice in Australian politics to balance the power of big business, polluters and individuals who hold disproportionate wealth and influence.
Bill Shorten and the Labor party need to be convinced to strongly oppose these attacks. It's critical that they realise what is at stake. And your local Member of Parliament needs to know that you are an advocate too, and you won't stand for this.
Advocacy makes Australia a better place for all.
It keeps our air and water clean and protects the places and people we love. Advocacy created Landcare, its protected Kakadu, the Murray Darling River System, big old forests and beautiful oceans. It's keeping the heat on Adani and other big polluters.
It means that when people get sick, they are guaranteed health care. Public advocacy means companies can't rip people off with shoddy products or advertising. It means standing up against injustice.
It means that when political parties put out policies, charities scrutinise them and rate how they impact our environment, or children, or the elderly, or renters. Politicians might find our questions inconvenient, but they're essential.
Behind many of the rights, laws and policies we now enjoy and often take for granted, lie years and sometimes decades of campaigning, organising people and advocating to raise awareness of problems and to push for reform.
That's why we must tell our elected representatives now to stand up for our democracy and our rights to participate in it – and reject this new legislation.
We will not be silenced. We stand together with other organisations in the charity sector to say hands off our democracy.
Together, we'll keep speaking out for what matters.