Centre for Civil Society
 Empowering consumers, families and communities

Organisation   Projects   Membership   Director   Contacts



We bring people together in each federal electorate (150 electorates around Australia) to work locally in engaging our communities and our  representatives in an agenda of empowerment of ordinary people and strengthening of civil society.
CLICK HERE to join us.


You can take charge of your social support, education and health care through a personal budget.
for further information.

Making a difference in our not-for-profits.
for further information.

up people who live in the same street or nearby to build community by doing amazing things with and for each other - on a national scale.
CLICK HERE for further information.
Mutualism, Third Way Thinking

CLICK HERE to find out more.


"The Left and Right have been as bad as each other. The Left has allowed its distrust of markets and endless faith in government to obscure the importance of civil society. The Right has been so focused on replacing the state with markets that it has forgotten how to cultivate a trusting society.

This is the politics of the absurd. The Left identifies with the good society but rarely talks about the mutualism and trust between people. The Right recognises the importance of moral obligation but gives the impression of trusting market transactions more than civil society.

Few things seem to happen anymore without a government law or market transaction to guide them. This is how record levels of GDP in Australia now sit alongside record levels of crime, social stress and family  breakdown. The political balance needs to swing back towards civil society.

This task, in fact, requires a new type of politics."

Mark Latham, Mutualism: A Third Way for Australia," 1999.

CLICK HERE to read more. 


The Centre for Civil Society is a public policy and social innovation think tank. Our aim is to generate ideas and organise change-makers to empower the little people and strengthen civil society. We aim to empower those who are invisible in public policy and political debate:

  • families (the foundation of society but unrepresented by any broad, mainstream movement)

  • consumers (our two main parties represent employers and employees, but not consumers)

  • people with disabilities, chronic and mental illnesses and their families/carers (the most invisible and vulnerable Australians)

  • the aged (regarded as being not glamorous, important or productive in our culture)

  • volunteers in communities (who are the glue in society but are unrepresented in any of our halls of power)

  • small businesses and independent owners (the backbone of our economy and employment but overlooked by governments)

  • individuals and communities who practice self-help (whose voice is rarely heard)


Self-help, empowerment, community, smaller government, inclusion, social capital, and ethical conduct.

Our Principles

Government and public policy should be built around:

Person-centred arrangements (services and institutions should be tailored to meet the personalized needs of individuals and their families - the 'one size fits all' model belongs in the dustbin of history)
Empowerment of individuals and families (transferring resources and power to individuals, families and their agents, enabling them to grow in community and capacity, not isolation and powerlessness)
Choice (individualised funding arrangements should become the norm throughout social and community services so that people can build the lives they want)
Subsidiarity (devolution of authority to the lowest level of practical decision-making)
Dispersal of ownership (the widest possible distribution of economic ownership amongst individuals, families and communities)
Inclusion of people across racial, cultural, religious and ability boundaries (ethnic, cultural and disability-based separatism is to be discouraged)
Openness and transparency in public institutions
Environmental sustainability (initiatives and programs of government should aim to enhance - or at least not harm - environmental sustainability)
Protection of civil society (initiatives and programs of government should strengthen - or at least not harm - relationships and institutions in civil society)
Neither Left nor Right but 'bottom up'

The Centre for Civil Society is not aligned with any political party. Our ideas and values place us in the centre of the political spectrum, between Labor and Liberal.

We are neither Left nor Right, but bottom up. The terms Left and Right belong to an era of top-down, authoritarian politics which is now redundant as we move into a new era of decentralization, community, choice, voluntary engagement in the service of others, global information distribution and communication.

CLICK HERE for a map of Left and Right which may help you locate our ideas and values and our 'people power' agenda. CLICK HERE to download and print a copy.

Centre for Civil Society 2007



for details of our campaign for a Real Education Revolution.


CLICK HERE for info on the National Federation of Parents, Families and Carers.


Charlie Leadbeater, Jamie Bartlett and Niamh Gallagher have authored this highly influential Demos Report on Self-Directed Services and Personal Budgets.
to read Making It Personal.
Mutualism, Third Way Thinking

CLICK HERE to find out more.


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Family Carers
There are 2.7million family carers of people with a disability, a chronic or mental illness, or aged frailty in Australia. They are invisible to politicians and policy makers. Read more...
How to Use this Website
If you are visiting this website for the first time, please note that there are two sets of links - one at the top of each page; and a second down the left hand and right hand side columns on our various projects.

Click on the links on the top of the page for information on the Centre for Civil Society.

Use the SEARCH button to find items of interest.If you are having problems navigating, there are additional links at the bottom of each page. Or click here for our PLAIN TEXT version (ideal for printing).

For those with reading difficulties, this website has been designed so you can click on 'Text Size' in your 'View' menu to enlarge the font..

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