STATEMENT IN RELATION TO THE ELECTORAL FUNDING AND DISCLOSURE REFORM BILL

SYDNEY, Thursday 29 November 2018:  UNICEF Australia welcomes changes to the Electoral Funding and Disclosure laws which passed through the House of Representatives this week.

UNICEF Australia sincerely thanks Members of Parliament for their bipartisan commitment to extensive consultation with the aid sector.

UNICEF Australia sees it as critical to our democracy that charities should be able to speak out in a constructive, non-partisan manner on behalf of children in Australia and overseas.

For over seventy years UNICEF has advocated on behalf of vulnerable children, their families and communities in Australia and worldwide, with a view to affecting bipartisan engagement in quality and effective policy development in our country.

Many of the  children and their families who we represent are living through the most difficult and extreme experiences of adversity, including famine, war, violence, poverty, disease, natural disaster and large scale displacement. We are committed to ensuring that children’s voices are heard by decision makers.

Quality and effective policy development does not always begin with all parties involved sharing the same view. The effect of the earlier versions of this proposed legislation would have been to silence the process of valuable and robust discussion and awareness-raising. Though UNICEF Australia does not necessarily believe this was the over-riding intention, we are pleased that this has not eventuated.

The Australian Government is an important partner and stakeholder in our work in Australia, the Pacific and in humanitarian response.  We look forward to ongoing meaningful discussions going forward.