Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh welcomes news that the Queensland government’s bill to reform political donations and spending in elections has passed in state parliament.
“QCOSS believes the passage of this bill is a critical step to achieving our vision of equality, opportunity and wellbeing for all Queenslanders,” she said.
“Electoral transparency, raising the level of political discussion and supporting a variety of voices to be heard are critical steps in restoring faith in democracy and increasing civic participation in elections and in communities.”
In January 2020, QCOSS wrote to the parliamentary Economics and Governance Committee and raised serious concerns about how some proposed changes would have unintended consequences for not-for-profit organisations in Queensland.
“We were concerned that the proposed legislation was likely to persuade small community organisations against public advocacy altogether meaning our voices, and those of Queenslanders experiencing disadvantage, would simply not be heard,” Ms McVeigh said.
“Social service organisations play a critical role in public policy debate, and our contributions are essential to the very fabric of democracy. We are in a unique position to hear and represent the voices of Queenslanders who experience the most disadvantage.
“We thank the state government and Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath for listening to our concerns and appropriately amending the legislation so that non-governmental organisations have their rights to advocate protected.”