Any NGO receiving 50% or more of its funding from the state will be precluded from advocating for state or federal legislative change – even from providing website links to other organisations’ websites that do so.
An excellent idea and not a million miles from what I recommend in Sock Puppets.
The pampered public health NGOs/quangos/fake charities are not taking the news at all well, of course. With delicious irony, these demagogues of public health are now worried about the slippery slope...
NGOs justifiably fear that the 50% figure is just a starting point, and that this censorship may ultimately apply to any funding.
Don't worry chaps. Remember the words of that perennial grant recipient Simon Chapman: "Look, if the slope is slippery, it's the most unslippery slippery dip I've ever seen in my life."
The irony gets sweeter when you consider that the article above was written by Mike Daube, a dyed-in-the-wool nanny-stater and one time director of the original fake charity ASH (UK). Now, thirty-odd years later, is this a sign that the doors to the bank are starting to close?
Not if Daube can help it, it won't, and he's not going down without a fight...
So what justification has the Queensland Government offered for its descent into the dark ages?
A little hysterical that, isn't it, Mike? The article appears on the advocacy website The Conversation and is full of special pleading, but the hyperbole gets worse...
Censorship is the hallmark of a totalitarian regime; censorship in health sends out the signal loud and clear that the government neither understands public health nor cares for the future health of the community.
"Totalitarian"? "Censorship"? "Dark ages"? They don't like it up 'em, do they?
This talk of censorship is nonsense. The reality is that these groups wouldn't have a voice in the first place if it wasn't for the involuntary contributions of the taxpayer. They'll still be free to lobby and campaign as much as they like, they'll just have to do it on their own dime (or 49% of the taxpayers' dime, which is still extremely generous).
First, they [the government] assert that NGOs should focus on their “core activities”, not advocacy. But seeking action that will protect the health of the community is the most fundamental core activity for public health organisations.
They're politicians, Mike. They do the policy-making. If they want advice, there are plenty of experts who will happily give them it for free. The fact that you think that the core activity of 'public health' is lobbying the government for things like plain packaging and graphic warnings on booze says it all. You have become obsolete, your methods don't work and you are a threat to liberty. The government should not be financing professional wowsers.
Second, they state in relation to funded groups that “we would expect that organisation to conduct itself with the political impartiality of any other government sector.” This verges on the bizarre, given that by definition NGOs are not part of the “government sector”.
The definition lost all meaning when the sector became dependent on statutory funding. I'd say that any organisation that gets most of its money from the government is part of the government sector. Some of these groups are 100% state-funded. They are sock puppets. They are the government in drag. If they insist on being part of an extended bureaucracy they should act with the impartiality of a civil servant and that means not going around demanding that the drinking age be raised to 25 or that the price of wine be quadrupled.
A third rationale now offered is that this condition will prevent abuses, such as the “Fake Tahitian Prince” scandal, and funding of NGOs to pursue political agendas. But any concerns in these areas should be addressed by protocols common to all governments (and indeed other funding agencies) about proper, well-monitored use of funds.
It is entirely an issue of the proper use of funds. Using public money to lobby the government is wasteful, deceitful and unethical. The Queensland government is absolutely right to take a lead on this (isn't that what public health advocates like to see—Australia "taking the lead"?)
The fourth rationale is that the government is seeking “health outcomes, not political outcomes or social engineering outcomes”. The government is entitled to seek health outcomes from activities that it funds: but that is no justification for gagging the non-government sector.
You're not being gagged. The government can grant or withhold money as it sees fit and it has chosen not to give it to political pressure groups. If you wish to continue your political activity, you are free to do so on the back of voluntary donations from the public.
It is desperately depressing that any health minister should use pejorative phrases such as “social engineering” to describe the aims of health organisations, and, by implication, the aims of his own and other health departments around the country.
No, it's not. It's accurate and deeply heart-warming. Well done Queensland, you little ripper.
You can read my IEA report about the glut of state-funded pressure groups here.