Centre for Civil Society
 Empowering consumers, families and communities

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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.
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You can take charge of your social support, education and health care through a personal budget.
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Making a difference in our not-for-profits.
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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.
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Mutualism, Third Way Thinking

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"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.

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We aims to strengthen the Australian economy by dispersing ownership and power as broadly as possible, building the capacity of consumers and small and medium-sized businesses, transforming welfare by inclusion of people with disadvantages in the real world of work, and overhauling the many legislative and institutional arrangements that prevent market competition from benefiting ordinary people.

We rejects both the anti-competitive culture of big business and the anti-enterprise culture of our trade unions. It supports small and medium sized businesses and measures to encourage greater ownership of capital by a greater proportion of Australians. It opposes corporate welfare of all kinds, and encourages a deeper and more confident culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship. It seeks a smaller government sector in the economy and a bigger mutual, not-for-profit and social enterprise sector.

People Power seeks a more inclusive society and economy, with favourable taxation and industrial relations incentives for businesses which engage people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

People Power stands for

A nation of owners (the widest possible distribution of economic ownership amongst individuals, families and communities)
A break up of cartels (forced divestiture of assets by firms with more than 50% of market share, and firms which misuse market power)
Empowerment of consumers (greater capacity for consumers, fewer restrictions on competition, removal of restrictions on new entrants in banking, insurance, airlines and the media)
Inclusion of people with disadvantages and disabilities in the mainstream economy (comprehensive incentives for firms to engage the disadvantaged)
An end to corporate welfare (elimination of corporate hand-outs, subsidies, tariffs)

People Power will

  • Establish a Capital Account for every citizen between the ages of 18 and 55, administered by authorized fund managers, into which yearly contributions are made from existing Commonwealth and State revenue streams and levies, as well as individual, employer and philanthropic contributions. Withdrawals from the Capital Account may only be made for business, property or share portfolio acquisition or development.

  • Allow individuals to choose to place their employer superannuation contribution in their Capital Account and/or in a super fund of their choice.

  • Encourage competition and an export culture by requiring a forced divestiture of assets in any firm controlling more than 50% of market share in any domestic market.

  • Strengthen small businesses by permitting them to collectively negotiate with suppliers, acquirers and franchisors..

  • Strengthen the Trade Practices Act provisions dealing with anti-competitive behaviour, predatory pricing, price fixing and collusive behaviour.

  • Stop the banking cartel's gouging of consumers by requiring downwards movement in fees and charges as a condition for continued licencing, removing barriers to more effective competition to the Big Four, and requiring a divestiture of assets penalty where banks have a debt/equity conflict of interest.

  • Unbundle Telstra by separating its retail operations from its network and media operations.

  • Ease the restrictions on new entrants in banking, insurance, airlines and the media to encourage more players, more competition, and more options for consumers. Licensing fees for suppliers and providers should be set at cost-recovery rates and not used as money-making instruments for government.

  • Remove the consumer levies on milk, sugar and other products which have been introduced by governments to bail out inefficient producers.

  • Bring in 'lemon' laws in all jurisdictions to protect consumers who purchase a dud product or service.

  • Encourage the development of consumer agents or brokers in industries such as utilities, telecommunications, financial services, trade services, health and aged care.

  • Encourage a major expansion of employee share ownership schemes for large and small businesses.

  • Link the permissable degree of deregulation of employment relations to the degree of employee involvement in enterprise ownership and governance.

  • Cut the company tax rate to 20% for firms which employ people with disabilities and other disadvantages as 20% or more of their workforce.

  • Overhaul the culture of the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority to remove its ideological bias against mutual, not-for-profit and social enterprise institutions.

  • Scrap all forms of corporate welfare including subsidies, development assistance, relocation incentives, research grants, tariffs and industry adjustment schemes for private sector businesses.

  • Encourage the development of regional mutual institutions to harness regional savings and investment, and aggregate regional purchasing power.

People Power Economic Policy Contact : Vern Hughes 

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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

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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...
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