As Australian’s we share a proud history of being a fair country, but the many laws and rights we take for granted are coming undone. Over the last decade our civil liberties have been systematically eroded by both sides of government, as they step up efforts to silence community dissent and reduce transparency to avoid scrutiny and expand government power. These changes advantage political elites and advance the interests of industry, not the people. What’s truly alarming is that we are not alone. This behaviour shares startling similarities to trends also occurring in the UK, Canada and the US, highlighting a disturbing global trend. But the people will not be silenced! The insatiable demand of people for a fair society simmers under the surface, leading courageous people into conflict with governments and those who influence them from the shadows.Hundreds of doctors banded together, refusing to be threatened by a two year jail sentence if they reported behaviour like child abuse in Australia’s controversial detention centres and took their fight against the government to the High Court. Remarkably, they won! Leaders in the environment movement are mobilising behind closed doors in response to the governments attacks against them and the parliamentary inquiry recommendations that threatens their very existence. Journalists and unions fight to protect whiste-blowers and the integrity of the media in a battle against intimidation and the new national security law changes described as the “greatest assault on press freedoms during peacetime.”Uncivil Society will tell the independent stories of several courageous people directly impacted by this attack on civil society and who have had no other choice by to fight back. Through these stories the film will explore reasons why the government would want to remove our rights, how the erosion of our rights impacts the everyday Australian, and what could happen to our rights and our lives if this trajectory continues.These stories (and more that focus on winding back laws and the undermining of our justice system and the oppressive anti-striking laws) are woven together by interviewee Emily Howie of the Human Rights Legal Centre who offers solutions that will empower the audience to increase their engagement with the political system through the civil sector and help safeguard our democracy.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
Democracy relies on many foundations for its success including an active civil society that engages in informed and diverse public debate, protest rights and the checks and balances provided by courts and other institutions. For hundreds of years everyday people have fought to maintain the integrity of these rights and the democratic institutions that uphold our civil liberties. And for hundreds more we'll need to keep up the fight. Importantly, we'll have no hope of protecting our rights and a safe climate if we can not strengthen our democracy. To do this we'll need increased participation in our political system via the civil sector. That is what this film aims to do.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
The ultimate goal of the film is for the audience to increase their participation in the political system via groups in the civil sector to help safeguard democracy.
We'll do this in the following ways:
1) raise the viewers concerns about the erosion of their civil rights;
2) demonstrate how this impacts every day Australian’s and where this could go in the future if left unabated;
3) explore the possibility of there being a concerted effort by governments to silence dissent and potentially expose ‘big industry’ as a key driver;
4) highlight the critical role that the ‘middle’ classes and the civil sector plays in progressive reform and protecting our rights and democracy; and
5) empower the audience to get involved in several campaigns, a) demand a human rights bill, b) campaign to stop political donations from corporations; and c) join their union.
The impact will be measured by the number of online actions that are taken by the audience in the campaign areas mentioned above, the number of increased union memberships and the growth in support for the campaign areas mentioned above.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
Website and Social Media: Development of a custom-made website as a "go to" resource to keep people up-to-date with changes to laws and practices that undermine our democracy and democratic institutions. This will be accompanied by a facebook page that will alert people to the news, actions, local screenings etc and report back to the audience about the ongoing impact of the campaign.
Leadership challenge: Through the above mentioned website and social media we’ll also kick off a leadership challenge to engage with our audience. This challenge will draw out the best ideas from the community about how Australia’s leaders can solve this, using examples of other leaders in history, current leaders of fictitious leaders.
This campaign aims to appeal to the better nature of our leaders and will use crowd funding to raise money so that the winning leadership visions are advertised in the electorates or areas of those leaders we’re trying to encourage.
Partnerships program: Partnerships with NGOs, associations and other organisations within the civil sector and business community will be crucial to the outreach for this documentary. Based on shared values and goals to safeguard democracy we will build strong relationships and partnerships to help promote the film, organise film screenings and to host information sessions and other important outreach activities following the film.
Partner Screening Events: The above mentioned partnerships program will help generate Partner Screening events.
Strategic Community Screening Events: Free screening events in critical electorates and where company directors live to apply acute pressure.
Host a Screening Outreach: Following the launch, people can download the film from the website, making community screenings possible no matter what the size of the community; schools, councils, community groups.
Press Launch: Leadership stunts to help get media to the film launch but to also launch the leadership challenge.