Plans for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services condemned
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS face a future where their access to justice is negligible under a Federal Government proposal to tender out Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) within the next six months, according to the Shadow A-G and Shadow Minister for Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs.
The Federal Government’s plans to go ahead with tendering out ATSILS are “fundamentally flawed”, Nicola Roxon and Kerry O’Brien said.
They said both Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Amanda Vanstone, seemed unconcerned about the warnings they had received about the inevitable impact on Indigenous Australians.
The proposed arrangements for Aboriginal legal services were contrary to the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, which was aimed at keeping Indigenous people out of jail, they said.
“This entire process demonstrates a complete lack of respect or regard by the Howard Government for the needs, or voices, of Indigenous people in this country,” Roxon and O’Brien stated.