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Law Council puts pressure on campaigning politicians

Law Council puts pressure on campaigning politicians

Ask not what you can do for your country, the peak body representing the legal profession suggested today, but what your country can do for you.

ASK not what you can do for your country, the peak body representing the legal profession suggested today, but what your country can do for you.

The Law Council of Australia has invited political parties contesting the 2010 Federal Election to provide their views on key national issues of relevance to the Australian legal profession.

The Law Council has prepared a document containing a list of issues and requested political parties provide the details of their policy platform on these key areas by 28 July.

The Law Council has asked parties to indicate their views on addressing the drastic decline in funding for the legal assistance sector, and the need for increasing funds for community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services.

“The Federal Government’s recent increase of $23 million per annum for Legal Aid Commissions falls well short of the $43 million the Law Council estimates is needed to restore funding to pre-1997 levels,” Law Council president Glenn Ferguson said.

“Community legal centres and Indigenous legal services also remain chronically underfunded,” he said.

The Law Council has also asked political parties whether they would support a range of initiatives aimed at recruiting and retaining lawyers in country Australia.

“We are concerned that ongoing problems in recruiting and retaining lawyers in rural, regional and remote areas are negatively impacting on access to justice,” Ferguson said.

The treatment of asylum seekers is also another area of concern to the national legal profession and the Law Council has sought political parties’ views on ensuring the human rights of all asylum seekers are preserved.

Other key issues identified by the Law Council include changes to anti-terror laws, resourcing of the Family Law Courts, Indigenous issues and gender equity and discrimination.

“The issues we have asked political parties to address are of interest and concern to practising lawyers around the nation and relevant to the well-being of all Australians,” Ferguson said.

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