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Daryl Williams lying on legal aid.



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SENATOR THE HON NICK BOLKUS

SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

No.63/98

16 September 1998

 

DARYL WILLIAMS LYING ON LEGAL AID

 

“Attorney-General Daryl Williams is simply lying to Australia ns when he says the Howard Government has improved access to justice,” Shadow Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Senator Nick Bolkus, said today. “All the objective evidence, and all the expert opinion, is entirely to the contrary.

 

“Daryl Williams claims that the Commonwealth has maintained the level of funding for Commonwealth legal matters — THAT IS A LIE!

 

“He and John Howard cut $232 million from our national legal aid system. Whilst most of that came from what they describe as “non-Commonwealth matters” — like domestic violence — which John Howard claims is a national priority, the legal aid funding guidelines have restricted funding to Commonwealth family law, criminal and discrimination cases.

 

“Over 100,000 Australians will miss out on legal aid funding because of these atrocious cuts. How on earth can Daryl Williams claim that this helps those people to access justice?

 

“The application of artificial caps in family law cases have seen parents cross-examining their children in cases where sexual abuse has been alleged! The application of funding caps in criminal cases has seen major criminal trials put on hold.

 

“Daryl Williams’ claim that these caps have spread legal aid funding more widely is just a cover for the fact that they are delivering real injustice to many Australians.

 

“Daryl Williams has tried pathetically to accuse lawyers of trying to line their own pockets by pursuing him over legal aid cuts. As a former President of the Law Council - and a man who called for increased legal aid funding - he should be ashamed of himself. Legal aid is one of the tangible ways in which lawyers selflessly help all Australians to protect their rights.

 

“Defaming the good work done by lawyers who get paid very little to do legal aid work is just the final desperate act of a man who has sold out on everything he allegedly stood for.

 

“Daryl Williams seems to suffer from the delusion that cutting legal aid funding equals reform. It doesn’t. It is just a denial of the basic rights that all Australians are entitled to. He has today proven himself to be totally unfit to be this country’s Attorney-General. He is a pathetic, sad individual.

 

“He should apologise to the Law Council for his remarks today. More importantly, he should apologise to the 100,000 people who he has allowed to suffer through his cuts to legal aid.

 

Contact: Simon Banks Ph: (02) 6277 3388 (bh) or 0419 638 587 (m); Fax: (02) 6277 3062

 

 

KD