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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 48

(Question No. 2403)

Mr Hodges asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 13 November 1985:

(1) Did the former Attorney-General and the Minister for Veterans' Affairs jointly announce on 17 March 1983 that a review for the needs of ex-servicemen and women and war widows for legal aid would be carried out; if so, was it stated that the review would be conducted by his Department in consultation with the Department of Veterans' Affairs and other bodies such as returned servicemen's organisations.

(2) Has the review been completed; if so, have the results been announced.

(3) Were the Returned Servicemen's League and other veterans' organisations consulted in the review process.

(4) Does the Government intend to apply a means test on the provision of legal aid to veterans, their dependants and war widows.

Mr Lionel Bowen —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes, but the date of the announcement was 17 August 1983, not 17 March 1983. The review to be carried out is of the needs of ex-service personnel, service personnel, and their dependants for legal assistance. It was stated that the review would be conducted by the Attorney-General's Department and consultations would be held with the Department of Veterans' Affairs, Statutory Authorities responsible for the delivery of legal aid and other interested organisations.

(2) and (3) The review has been delayed pending consideration of the implications for legal aid generally of the recommendations of the Legal Aid Task Force. In addition, there are implications for this matter arising out of the proposed merger of the Australian Legal Aid Office and the Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales.

(4) Means-test free legal assistance is available from my Department for veterans, service personnel and their dependants and war widows in proceedings before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Federal Court and High Court in connection with matters arising directly from disabilities incurred during war service.