Centre for Civil Society



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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up people who live in the same street or nearby to build community through practical helping tasks - on a national scale.
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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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NAtiONAL conference
Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre Melbourne
22-23 June 2009

Register Here


Day One: Monday 22 June

8.30    Registration

9.20    Welcome

9.30    Introduction to the Conference Agenda - Vern Hughes

'Natural Neighbourhoods, Real Communities: What are they?'

10.00  Keynote address (1) Daniel Donahoo  Author "Idolising Children".

          ''If it takes a village to raise a child, where are our villages?'  

10.30  Keynote address (2) Suzette Gallagher  Parent and disability innovator

          'Creating a natural neighbourhood in Port Melbourne for my son Sean.'

11.00  Morning Tea

11.30  Concurrent sessions

          Session One: Village Models for Children and Families

          Claire Brunner  'Mirror Families' for vulnerable children and young people
          Anita Siegersma 
Village models for lone parents with children           

          Session Two: Newcomers and Transitory Communities

          Sue Ellson  Newcomers Network
Naomi White & Peter White
Travel and the creation of transitory communities

          Session Three: Neighbourhood Sustainability

Meg Montague  'Merri Sustainability'
Rachel Kitchener
'The Sharehood' - Sharing in neighbourhoods

          Stream Four
: National Initiatives - suggestions and proposals

          Vern Hughes

12.45  Lunch

1.30    Five voices - panel of five community doers

Sue Ellson 
Rachel Kitchener
Ella Hogan 
Jay Jeffries

Mark Snell 

2.00     Concurrent sessions     

            Session One:  Circles of Support

Michelle Veale  Circles of Support in Disability
Jessica Noske-Turner 
Circles of Support in Foster Care          
Maylen Turner  
Circles of Support models

Session Two:  Neighbourhoods in new housing estates

Karen Woo and colleagues  Lend Lease Development

           Session Three: Volunteering and Participation Models

Elizabeth Hart  Volunteer-based community newspapers
Ella Hogan and colleagues  South West Sydney
Merrilyn Shepherd  Tram Stop 41 East Kew

           Stream Four: National Initiatives - suggestions and proposals

Rachel Kitchener  'The Sharehood'

3.15     Afternoon tea

3.45     Concurrent sessions

Session One: Children and Families

Workshop  Lisa Matthews & Liz Douglas  
            2262 Out of the Box - family and community connections

           Session Two:  Local Government and Neighbourhoods

Tracey Farrant  City of Wodonga
Chris McAlpine  Parramatta City Council
Cr Heinz Kreutz  City of Boroondara

Session Three:
Self-Help and Mutual Support Models

Josie Costanzo 
'Lived Experience Model' The Compassionate Friends Victoria
Francesco Coniglio
  Mutual support in mental health recovery

            Session Four:  Intentional Communities

Workshop  Mark Snell  Obstacles faced in forming intentional communities

5.00    Close

6.00    Drinks 

7.00    Informal Dinner


Day Two: Tuesday 23 June

9.00    Registration

9.30    National Initiatives and Coordination - suggestions and proposals 
          Vern Hughes

           Street by Street
           Circles of Support/Circles of Security
           Mirror Families

           KeyRing Supported Accommodation Networks
           The Sharehood

10.00   Concurrent sessions

           Session One: Street by Street

Workshop  Vern Hughes               

            Session Two: Children and Families

Christy Hartlage  Young parents, neighbours and volunteers
            Catherine D'Arcy & Leonie Deacon  Mothers Living Well Project
            Alice Dawkins  Safety House Association of Victoria

            Session Three: Community gardens

Workshop  Regina McLeod & Kathleen van der Weerden  Groundswell Community Garden

            Stream Four: National Initiatives - suggestions and proposals

Other proposals

11.00   Morning Tea

11.30   Concurrent sessions

            Session One: Agents of Change

Workshop  Ella Hogan and colleagues Campbelltown NSW 

            Session Two: Key Ring Supported Accommodation Networks

Geraldine Fowler  My Place Key Ring Project
Rachel Lowe  Neighbour-Ring Project

            Session Three: Neighbourhood-based Cultural Exchange and Language Learning

Heinz Kreutz  Monash University

            Stream Four: National Initiatives - suggestions and proposals

            Vern Hughes

12.30  Lunch


1.15    Strategy Sessions - Recommendations to Final Plenary

          Strategy Session One:
 Children and Families


          Strategy Session Two: Newcomers and Transitory Communities

          Strategy Session Three: Housing Estate Neighbourhoods


          Strategy Session Four: Circles of Support

2.05    Strategy Sessions - Recommendations to Final Plenary

          Strategy Session One:  Sustainability and Neighbourhoods


Strategy Session Two:  KeyRing Supported Accommodation Networks


          Strategy Session Three:
  Intentional Communities  

Strategy Session Four:  
Community Gardens

3.00    Afternoon tea

3.30    Concluding Plenary - Feedback from sessions
4.00    Strategic Directions - National Initiatives and Coordination

4.30    Close

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  Centre for Civil Society 2007- 2009


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Charlie Leadbeater, Jamie Bartlett and Niamh Gallagher have authored this highly influential Demos Report on Self-Directed Services and Personal Budgets.
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