Topic: election Oz 2007
The well written and idealistic comment piece by Sarah Maddison and Clive Hamilton January 27, 2007 which leads in with
"Many welfare organisations have discovered that criticising policy is unacceptable to this Government"
was a good read, and mostly true to this writer with some 15 years in the non government group sector. It was circulated to us by environmentalist David Lockwood. The article is here:
One comment regarding the complexity of the situation from this ngo minnow with no govt funding: The NSW ALP govt does the same thing.
Clive Hamilton is on the happy side of that favouritism as regards state largesse. Ex Premier Carr is on his Climate Institute and was cued to launch his sustainability book in 2005 at Parliament House in Macquarie St while as Premier overseeing woodchipping of a million tonnes of natural forest per year in breach of an election promise made in 1995.
Clive didn't see the inconsistency of that and wrote to me to the effect of 'You have a chip on your shoulder'. Which of course is true too regarding that issue.
A case in point was defunding of the 'NSW Ethnic Communities Council' as a way of conservative Carr addressing the momentum of the One Nation challenge to right wing voters. The other case in point is sidelining the far more representative and bigger membership The Wilderness Society versus the 700 size Total Environment Centre which was far more compliant to the then Carr govt as
"the greenest premier in the history of Australia"
to quote Jeff Angel in late 2002 in the Sydney Morning Herald prior to the March 2003 vote. That was an outrageous pre emption of the green movement in an election cycle.
Conclusion: Both major parties are corrupt when they can get away with it as regards robust discipline of critical comment by the NGO sector.
The difference is that the Howard Govt are bigger and have been there the longest and thus are most guilty of oppressing non govt groups.
Postscript #1 5th Feb 2007
And the Establishment chill, possibly via Howard Govt contacts in business, against Clive Hamilton's Australia Institute is in this article following, while noting the legal timing of the court action reported is back in November 2006 is before this latest book of Maddison and Hamilton about 'Silencing Dissent' in early 2007: