Civil Society Futures the independent inquiry

“Our vision for the future is a civil society formed on innovation, boldness and challenge. This is the precursor to a positive and healthy society


A time of change

Civil society cannot stand still as society shifts. We have never just stood on the sidelines and watched. Through previous decades and centuries we have responded to change, reshaped and reinvented. We combated the squalor and chaos of the Industrial Revolution, supported displaced people, refugees and traumatised veterans after world wars, organised on homelessness and domestic violence in the 1960s and 1970s, mobilised around AIDS in the 1980s, and in the last decade have welcomed refugees and opened food banks. A strong, renewed, re-energised civil society is urgently needed to shape the future now. Today we face big upheavals and crises, and new opportunities that call us to reinvent ourselves again, to transform ourselves and transform society. Civil society has the opportunity to rebuild our dented democracy, heal social division and resist environmental degradation. We need to lead change and bring people together. There is an opening now that is real and urgent, but in order to meet it we need to be fit for the future.

The world is changing quickly, as we’ve seen in the two years of this inquiry. Collectively, we must transform ourselves – or risk becoming irrelevant. The big message from the many hundreds of discussions we have held and submissions we have received is that the big role for civil society in the coming years is to generate a radical and creative shift that puts power in the hands of people and communities, preventing an ‘us and them’ future, connecting us better and humanising the way we do things ...

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