Australian voices must not be silenced. Stand with us.

    Dear [your local MP’s name will be automatically entered],

    The Australian Parliament is currently considering legislation that has far-reaching consequences for our democracy.

    The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2017 and the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 are expected to be debated in the June parliamentary sitting period.

    While intended to stop foreign interference in the Australian electoral process and on national security, charities, community groups and other not-for-profit organisations have discovered the legislation will impose restrictions on them that will hamper their ability to advocate for First Australians, the poor, the homeless and the ill.

    Together, these Bills will erode political freedoms and civil liberties which lie at the heart of Australia's democracy, particularly the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and the implied right to political communication.

    The Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill would prevent Australian charities and not-for-profits from communicating human rights abuses or violations of environmental protections to United Nations bodies, and could treat peaceful protest as a threat to national security.

    The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill could force Australian charities to register as agents of foreign governments with whom they have only tenuous links.

    If passed in its current form, this legislation will put in jeopardy our ability to defend human rights, to undertake life-saving international aid and development work, to support Indigenous-led conservation and advocacy work, and to stand up for the interests of every day people and the environment.

    Restricting advocacy by charities and not-for-profits not only sends a deeply troubling message that government is seeking to avoid accountability, it also would have a chilling effect on informed public debates that are necessary for our democracy.

    I urge you to support the call from civil society to have both bills withdrawn and redrafted, with proper and widespread consultation.

    Yours faithfully,
    [Your name will be automatically added]

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    A good government protects and enables a strong and vibrant community. One where you can participate in public debate, where the issues you care about are brought to the forefront, and where you can hold the government to account.

    But, right now, your ability to raise your voice about the issues you care about is under threat. The federal government wants to change laws that will silence Australians and avoid accountability.

    The new laws will severely restrict advocacy and intimidate participation in public debate. These laws will tie charities up in red tape, rather than using crucial donations for the purpose they were given.

    They will also put at risk essential funding for alleviating poverty, life-saving medical research, support for Indigenous self-determination, and protecting our forests, rivers and wildlife.

    Act now and call on our political leaders to end of this attack on free speech and public participation. 

     

    New report: Read about how these Bills threaten to silence civil society

    In Whose Interest? Silencing Charities in Australia A report from Hands Off Our Charities about how these Bills threaten our humanitarian, social justice, international aid, and conservation work

    More on the Bills / In the news 

    Labor and Greens back charities' objections to foreign influence laws

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jun/15/labor-and-greens-back-charities-objections-to-foreign-influence-laws

    Australia's Government must guard against foreign interference, but not by curbing our rights, Elaine Pearson from Human Rughts Watch

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-14/australia-government-foreign-interference-espionage-human-rights

    Trusting the government to protect civil liberties? That’s a sick joke, 5 organisations explain their major concerns regarding the new laws 

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/trusting-the-government-to-protect-civil-liberties-thats-a-sick-joke

    Greenpeace talked with folks in Sydney about these attacks on democracy. Here’s what they said - https://www.facebook.com/greenpeaceaustraliapacific/videos/10156854054657971/

    Watch the videos!

    Click here to read more about this campaign

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