Community Legal Centres are not only facing horrendous budget cuts, but also attempts by the Liberal party to prevent them advocating for policy and law reform.
“Not only are Community Legal Centres (CLCs) around Australia facing nearly $50m of budget cuts, but it now appears as if Commonwealth Attorney General George Brandis is attempting to muzzle them as well,” Tasmanian Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim MP said.
“CLCs are in a perfect position to understand the problems that disadvantaged people have with the legal system, and which laws are in need of change, because they interact every day with people who face challenges with the legal system.”
“They are also in the perfect position to lobby, advocate for change, and provide feedback on law reforms being considered by government.”
“Budget cuts like this risk further entrenching a two-tiered legal system, where access to justice is denied to people on the basis of their capacity to pay.”
“And retrospective changes imposed on funding or service agreements that prevent CLCs from advocating for change would be nothing more than an Orwellian attempt to remove a voice for disadvantaged people and the environment.”
“Tasmanian Attorney General Vanessa Goodwin must come out of hiding on this issue and defend the right of Tasmanian CLCs to advocate for law reform as and when they see fit,” Mr McKim said.