2016 Federal Election
In the lead up to the 2016 Federal Election, Volunteering Australia called on every candidate to Vote for Volunteering as part of a national strategy to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the volunteering sector.
Vote for Volunteering, Volunteering Australia’s Federal Election Platform, asked candidates to pledge to work in partnership with the volunteering sector to support the work of volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations.
The campaign asked candidates to imagine an Australia without volunteers, reminding them that volunteering supports the work of government – every day, in every community.
Of the 1,625 candidates, 280 took the pledge including all 203 Greens candidates, the entire Health Australia Party and the Australian Progressives Party. In addition, individual candidates pledged from parties as diverse as The Pirate Party, The Glenn Lazarus Team, The Animal Justice Party, The Christian Democratic (Fred Nile) Party, Family First, Online Direct Democracy – Empowering the People, The Australian Sex Party, the Australian Cyclists Party, together with many Independents.
Click here to view who pledged to Vote for Volunteering
Australian Greens’ spokesperson for Community Affairs Senator Rachel Siewert took the Vote for Volunteering pledge on behalf of all 203 Australian Greens candidates. She wrote,
“Thank you for your work campaigning for and supporting volunteers across Australia. The huge contribution volunteers make to our communities and society is commonly overlooked, and it deserves more recognition. The huge contribution of civil society would not be possible without volunteers…The Australian Greens pledge to work in partnership with the volunteering sector to support the work of volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations in the new Parliament.”
During the election campaign, we saw emergency services volunteering, in particular, dominate campaign discussion more than ever before. In light of this, it was disappointing that neither the Australian Labor Party nor the Coalition signed up for the Vote for Volunteering pledge. Both did, however provide written responses to Volunteering Australia outlining and supporting their policy commitments for volunteering.
10 candidates who pledged to Vote for Volunteering were elected including one to the House of Representatives and nine Senators. Vote for Volunteering is just the beginning of VA’s advocacy work and we will continue our discussions with Australia’s federal politicians about volunteering and civic participation in the national interest, and the support we need from government to strengthen the network’s potential to grow volunteering even further.
The Vote for Volunteering Pledge
This Federal Election, I’m taking the pledge to Vote for Volunteering.
I acknowledge that volunteering supports the work of the federal government through the delivery of core programs, making a significant contribution to the Australian economy and society. I further acknowledge that the delivery of successful volunteering programs requires adequate funding that must keep pace with the growth in demand. I am concerned by reports that the number of volunteers in Australia is decreasing and believe Government must show the leadership required to encourage more people into volunteering.
I pledge to work in partnership with the volunteering sector to support the work of volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations if elected on July 2.
What this looks like to the sector:
- A new National Volunteering Strategy that is non-partisan and developed in partnership with Volunteering Australia and other relevant sectors
- A commitment to increased federal funding to volunteering that is managed sustainably, consistently and transparently, and that is allocated as a result of independent research and collaboration with the sector in the form of a Productivity Commission inquiry
- An acknowledgement that the work of volunteering crosses all portfolios of the Government, and must be administered accordingly
- An increase in support for volunteering in areas with critical gaps, such as aged care, disability services, emergency management and youth.