Monday, 16 May 2016
ACT legal profession to rally in support of national legal aid funding
Lawyers in Canberra will rally in support of a national ‘Legal Aid Matters’ campaign aimed at ensuring the next Federal Government responds decisively to Australia’s legal assistance funding crisis.
The rally on Wednesday 18 May 2016 will help bring a sharp focus to the funding crisis currently facing many organisations providing an important justice safety net.
“Successive federal governments have taken millions of dollars from legal assistance bodies,” said Martin Hockridge, President of the ACT Law Society.
“The system is now at a point where most Australians who can’t afford a lawyer simply won’t get one. It isn’t just Australia’s most disadvantaged missing out. Many are everyday Australians.
“Australians are forced to represent themselves in court or, worse, ignore their legal issues.
“Legal aid goes the heart of Australia’s notion of fairness and what kind of society we want to be. Is it one in which everyone has access to justice – or only those who can afford a lawyer?”
Mr Hockridge said that funding legal assistance organisations adequately would actually save the taxpayer money according to the Productivity Commission, which has recommended a $200 million injection of funding to avoid costlier problems from developing down the track.
“Whichever party wins the July election will inherit a legal aid in crisis. We must convince the Parliament that legal aid funding is an urgent priority,” Mr Hockridge said.
Australians can get involved and tell their local MP that legal aid matters by visiting the campaign website at legalaidmatters.org.au.
Walk for Legal Assistance Funding
Wednesday 18 May 2016, 8am to 8.45am
Walk starts at CLC Hub, 21 Barry Drive, Turner
Walk ends at ACT Supreme Court, Knowles Place, Canberra
Genevieve Bolton, Executive Director and Principal Solicitor, Canberra Community Law.
John Boersig, CEO, ACT Legal Aid Commission.
Dr Warren Mundy, Productivity Commissioner (2010-15) who oversaw the Productivity Commission’s “Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry” report.
For further information contact:
Mr Martin Hockridge, President, ACT Law Society, M 0405 064 541