Queensland Law Society

Gag clauses concerning

Date 29 Aug 2012
Contact Natalie Graeff, Manager Corporate Communication
Phone 07 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Fax 07 3221 9329
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society said today an attempt by the government to gag those who receive 50 percent or more of their funding from speaking out about legislation was extremely concerning.

An extract from a funding contract signed with the state government and reported in the media recently stated:

“Where the Organisation receives 50 per cent or more of its total funding from Queensland Health and other Queensland Government agencies, the Organisation must not advocate for State or Federal legislative change. The Organisation must also not include links on their website to other organisations' websites that advocate for State or Federal legislative change.”

President Dr John de Groot said community organisations who are at the coalface of service provision have the professional know-how and practical experience to intelligently inform government policy.

“By making a condition of funding the restriction of free speech, the government is robbing Queenslanders, and itself, of the ability to use these skills to consider sensible proposals for legislative reform and identify service efficiencies,” Dr de Groot said.

“Restricting the voices of community organisations deprives us of a valuable information resource and only makes for poorer legislative outcomes.

“And of course, it encroaches on the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

“We hope the government rethinks its approach and views funding recipients as trusted organisations that have a great role to play in contributing to, and improving, community services.”