The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of David Bradbury

David Bradbury

Assistant Treasurer, Minister Assisting for Financial Services & Superannuation and Minister for Competition Policy & Consumer Affairs

5 March 2012 - 18 September 2013

Media Release of 13/03/2013

NO.032

Government Bill introduced to ban gag clauses

Joint media release with
Senator the Hon Penny Wong
Minister for Finance and Deregulation
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
and
Mark Butler MP
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Minister for Housing and Homelessness
Minister for Social Inclusion
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform

The Gillard Government has today introduced legislation to ban gag clauses in federal government contracts with the not-for-profit sector.

The Not-for-Profit Sector Freedom to Advocate Bill safeguards the right of not-for-profit groups to advocate freely in the interests of the community.

"We believe it's important that the not-for-profit sector have an independent voice," Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong, said.

"Unlike the Liberals, we don't believe in silencing those who advocate on behalf of the community and those most in need."

The Gillard Government calls on all State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers to introduce legislation to similarly ban the use of gag clauses in their government contracts.

"In Queensland, we see Premier Newman making savage cuts to health, education and services, and then silencing those who would speak out," Senator Wong said.

"These are draconian measures by a Liberal Government desperate to disguise how badly their cuts to health and education and services are hurting families."

Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury MP, said that gag clauses have previously been used at a federal level.

"Gag clauses are part of the Liberal Party's DNA, because they don't respect the independent voice of the not-for-profit sector," Mr Bradbury said.

"We saw wide use of gag clauses under John Howard, and it's likely the Liberals would try imposing them again if they were given the chance."

The Labor Government removed all gag clauses in 2008.

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Housing and Homelessness and Social Inclusion, Mark Butler MP, says gag clauses silence those who most need to be heard.

"This Bill reflects what has been Labor's policy since we came to office; that advocacy from the not-for-profit sector is important and should not be restricted," Mr Butler said.

"We want this enshrined in law, to ensure that no future government is able to take away from the important role they play."

13 March 2013