8/25/2014 to 8/26/2014
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disadvantage. Building civil society. Changing government.
The Civil Society Conference.
Strengthening communities and building self-help in an era of
With Hon. Kevin Andrews
Federal Minister for Family and Community Services
"I’ve had a
longstanding interest and involvement in civil society. I’ve served as an
official with various sporting organisations, on hospital boards and with
social service agencies. It’s this personal experience at the coalface of
civil society that forged my views about the critical role of organisations
that arise organically from the community in response to human need to the
needs that people in local communities perceive.
those views have only been reinforced by what I’ve seen as a
Parliamentarian and Minister over the past 20-plus years... I’ve seen
communities – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – where the basic
structures of civilised society have eroded – and even collapsed:
- Places afflicted by dire poverty where women and
children are at constant risk of violence.
- Places where dependency is the rule and
self-sufficiency the exception.
- Places where most people are employed are on the
public or not-for-profit payroll;
- Places where the last vestiges of individual
initiative have evaporated, leaving behind the social residue of
hopelessness and despair.
these cumulative observations that have forged my views about the capacity
and limitations of government. And I’ve generally concluded that while
certain core functions of government are indispensable, we should strive to
minimise the institutional footprint of the state wherever and whenever
Rather than a cumbersome ‘top-down’ ‘government-knows-best’ approach that
smacks of patronising paternalism, we believe in bottom-up, grass roots
25-26 August 2014
Exploring the critical importance of civil society in overcoming
disadvantage, strengthening communities and changing government
Education and school reform
Health and illness prevention Rights and responsibilities
Civil Society - The Next Global Superpower
Around the world, the rise of civil society has been likened to
the rise of the next global superpower. The term refers to the relationships and
associations that make up our life at grass-roots levels of society, in
families, neighbourhoods, voluntary associations, social enterprises and
cooperatives, independent of both government and the corporate sector. These
relationships and networks are vast, but they have been hidden from public
debate and policy making for a century.
In Australia, civil society is still largely ignored in public life.
Personal and social well-being is determined primarily in and by civil
society, but governments, policy makers, academics and journalists alike have
been seduced by the power of states and corporates and have ignored the power
of communities and relationships.
Change is in the air. Governments of all persuasions
have found they cannot deliver stronger communities and better social
relationships. Corporates cannot deliver trust and personal responsibility.
The managerial revolution of the last thirty years swept through government,
business and non-government organisations, and shifted agency and
responsibility for well-being away from the relationships and institutions of
civil society to managements in public, private and NGO sectors. The results
are now in. The social impact of this managerial revolution has been to smother
the instinct for, and practice of, voluntary association, personal
responsibility, and the shared generation of moral and social capital.
This conference aims to explore the emergence of civil society into the
public policy arena, and chart its critical importance in overcoming
disadvantage, strengthening communities and changing expectations and
practices of government.
Call for Papers
presentations, workshops and strategic proposals are invited which examine
these themes in relation to the following streams:
- Indigenous affairs
- Family violence
- Education and school reform
- Welfare reform
- Health care and illness prevention
- Disability, ageing and social support
- Rural and regional affairs
- Employment supports
- Family and social relationships
- Alcohol and drug abuse and self-help
- Rights and responsibilities frameworks
Expressions of interest in presenting a
paper or workshop or proposal should be forwarded by 30 May 2014, in no more
than 300 words, using this online
The Angliss Conference Centre is located in the Melbourne CBD, on the corner
of LaTrobe and King Streets, on the fifth floor.
It is close to
train and tram services. Flagstaff railway station is one block away in
LaTrobe St, and Southern Cross station is three blocks away in Spencer St.
Trams 23, 24, 30, 34, and City Circle run along LaTrobe Street.
There are numerous
accommodation options close by, to suit all budgets.
Start and Finish Times
All events begin at
9.15am, finishing by 5.00pm on day one and 4.00pm on day two.
Who Should Attend?
<="" font=""> This series is open to citizens, community
participants, policy thinkers and planners, government officials,
service delivery organisations, and researchers who have a serious interest
in overcoming disadvantage, building civil society, and changing government
in the 21st century.
<="" font=""> REGISTER
The Centre for Civil Society
The Centre for Civil Society is a
social innovation and public policy institute which aims to empower ordinary
people and strengthen civil society. Further information is available here.
Participants are invited to participate in our network in their federal
electorate groups around Australia to:
- take local initiatives and hold local events
- campaign on issues that are ignored by governments and politicians; and
ideas for social and political change and empowerment of ordinary people.
no cost to join and participate. Join up here.
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