A Volunteersí Union in


Voice and Representation for 6 million Volunteers

There are 6 million volunteers in Australia in a broad range of community, charity, sporting, arts and government organisations. Their contributions constitute essential social infrastructure without which Australian society cannot function.

As our population ages, a growing number of Australians will be looking for volunteering options through which to make connections with others, form relationships, share skills and wisdom, and make practical contributions in their areas of special interest.

However, volunteers face many challenges. Risk management and legal pressures have formalised volunteering in recent years, producing tight role descriptions and strict terms of engagement which have made some volunteer roles less attractive.
In many cases, these roles reproduce the authority structures of paid work.

The emergence of 'volunteer management' as a specialist management function has tended to de-personalise the way voluntary contributions are made in society. There has been a tendency to slot volunteers into pre-determined roles within organizations, rather than enable volunteers to make voluntary contributions in unique and personalized ways.

In turn, volunteers have not had processes though which they can act on unsatisfactory volunteering experiences or respond to unsatisfactory relationships with managements.

Governments have unwisely included volunteering as a condition for receipt of certain welfare benefits, with adverse consequences for established volunteers and organisations that engage them. People cannot be forced to volunteer if their heart is not in it.

For these reasons, Australia needs a volunteers' union to represent the interests of volunteers and to speak on their behalf in the public arena.

CLICK HERE to read A Voice for Volunteers by Fuzzy Trojan. Fuzzy lives in Adelaide and is a is a "Golden Guru" with Volunteering SA&NT.

Voice and Representation

CLICK HERE to register your interest in participating in a volunteers' union.

We are inviting expressions of interest in joining a Steering Group to guide the development of the union.

Expressions of Interest in joining the Steering Group may be expressed through this online form.

This development process is hosted by the Centre for Civil Society.


Vern Hughes
PO Box 159 Yarraville Vic 3013
03 5629 8400
0425 722 890


 © Centre for Civil Society 2012-2013