Australian Government cuts funding to advocacy groups, except feminist ones

“As Scott Morrison prepared to step in as Social Services Minister, his new department was contacting housing advocacy groups and other community services providers on Monday to inform them their funding had been cut and contracts with the Commonwealth would be discontinued.

Social Services posted letters responding to requests for grants from the community sector for ongoing and new funding streams after a process first announced in March.

The government has previously warned it could satisfy just $800 million of the $3.9 billion in grants requested by the sector.” (Source)

Back in May 2014 around the time the federal budget was released, and when he wore a different hat, Scott Morrison was quoted as stating:

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he axed funding for a refugee organisation just two weeks after guaranteeing it in the budget because he believes taxes should not be propping up advocacy groups.

“It’s not my view, it’s not the Government’s view, that taxpayer funding should be there to support what is effectively an advocacy group,” Mr Morrison said.

“They’re entitled to be an advocacy group; they do very good work in the community and the Government will continue to support that organisation for contracted services.

“But in terms of administrative funding for an advocacy group, in a tough budget like this, frankly I just formed the view that taxpayer funds were not going to be spent on those types of activities.”

Many groups have been affected by these cuts, not just immigration advocacy groups such as the one referred to above. Not only Scott Morrison but other Ministers have, in justifying the cuts, been at pains to differentiate between those organisations who provide “advocacy” and those that provide “frontline services” to those in need.

As I ran my eyes over the list of groups for whom funding has been withdrawn, one curious thing stands out. No groups that cater predominantly to the welfare of women or girls appear on the list, not even those that are quite clearly advocacy groups who do not provide frontline support services.

Consider the example of ‘Our Watch’, a feminist group within the domestic violence sector, who seem to have emerged from the budget maelstrom unscathed. Indeed ‘Our Watch’ received $4,675,550 in government funding in 2013/14, whilst raising a paltry $6,083 in donations.

What’s more, that sum incorporated only a portion of total promised federal funding of $13.1 million. ‘Our Watch’ will also act as a middle-man (oops) and conduit for additional government funding for sporting groups that successfully compete for the feminist tick of approval. Why it was considered appropriate to delegate this role to an NGO defies logic.

Turning our attention now to those groups that were subject to cuts in government funding. Some of those groups appear to cater to a predominantly male clientele, and I’m thinking in particular of those providing services to the homeless.

Why is this so? Surely if we did in fact exist within a patriarchy then the opposite should be true? Or could it be that feminists/white knights are the ones that really wield the power in Canberra? Is taking an axe to any organisation that has the feminist lobby’s tick of approval now just too scary for our civic ‘leaders’ to contemplate?

See also:

Community sector funding cuts begin (23 December 2014)

Homelessness advocacy groups lose $21m in federal government funding (23 December 2014)

Disability advocates warn Government cuts to social services grants could affect NDIS rollout (24 December 2014)

ABC interview with Scott Morrison (24 December 2014)

Brandis ties NGO funding to non-advocacy (26 July 2014)

Elsewhere in this blog you might be interested in reading:

Partners in alms: A primer on the ‘Domestic Violence Industry’

Re-instatement of the Women’s Budget Statement in Australia? Bring it on, but consider men too

Australian taxpayer-funded organisations that do little/nothing for men (other than demonising them)

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