Tony Abbott's plan to silence NGO’s
Just a few days in and the Abbott government has announced plans to make green boycotts illegal.
Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck says he wants to “prevent green groups from holding companies to ransom”
This means environmental groups and community organisations will be gagged if they ask consumers to boycott unethical companies.
Less than a week in Government and Abbott is already showing his true colours – Free speech is under attack.
See the response from The Wilderness Society below.
Read more about Abbotts plan here.
Gagging free information will hurt business
The Federal Government’s proposal to silence non-government organisations from briefing consumers about environmental credentials of companies and products will be counterproductive, the Wilderness Society said today.
Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck announced moves yesterday to try to stop groups from being active in the market place.
“It’s an odd move by a pro-free market government to try to protect businesses from consumers receiving credible information about their products,” said Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders.
“Companies should not be operating in a free market if they need government protection from credible information.
“Government can’t protect companies who don’t have a social licence as was witnessed with the spectacular collapse of one-time logging giant Gunns Limited in Tasmania.
“Markets for a whole host of products have wised up to unethical and unsustainable production practices and make their own decisions in relation to purchases and the preferences of consumers.
“Discerning markets care about their purchases and often rely on third-party assessment and commentary to make their decisions ‑ whether its demands are sweat-shop free, cruelty free, fair trade, non-genetically modified or environmentally sustainable.
“This is a wrong-headed action by the new government and will not benefit the private sector.
Instead it will make martyrs out of advocates and pariahs out of companies seeking to cover up the true environmental footprint of their products.
“Environment groups play an important role in informing markets and in some cases, such as with the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, have an explicit obligation to keep customers of Tasmanian forest products updated with information.
“Markets expect high environmental standards and free and fair flows of information and will be increasingly sceptical of governments that impose new laws that constrain communications.”
More info: http://www.wilderness.org.au/