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Interviews begin for Australian Legal Aid Office



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36.

Australian Human Rights Commissioner who will investigate

infringements of the Act. .

"In regard to religious education," Senator

Murphy said, "the International Covenant does not

establish, as has been contended, the 'right' of parents

to ensure the religious education of their children - the

word chosen by the United Nations is 'liberty', which in

law means something less. The Australian Parliament

would not have constitutional power, in legislation

introduced in reliance on the Covenant, to establish

legal 'rights' that are not.contained in the Covenant.

"The International Covenant has been incorporated

in the Schedule to the Bill and the Bill, when enacted, ■

will give approval to the ratification by Australia of

the Covenant. Australia would, of course, be in b r e a c h "

of its obligations under the Covenant if restrictions

were introduced that were inconsistent with the principles

contained in the Covenant. * '

"I have announced that I wish to obtain the best

possible Bill dealing with human rights and that I would

welcome any suggestions that may be made for the improve­

ment of the Bill. All suggestions already made wall be

taken into account when the Bill is re-introduced and

I welcome further suggestions," the Attorney-General said.

Canberra. . . .

February 27, 1974. "

18/74. ■ .

. ' INTERVIEWS BEGIN FOR AUSTRALIAN

LEGAL AID OFFICE

- Senior officers from the Attorney-General's

'Department wall this week begin interviewing applicants,

for positions in the Australian Legal Aid Office.

37.

Over 400 applications have been received for

positions on the salaried legal staff of the Office.

The Office will have an initial establishment

of over 100 legal officers operating in capital cities

and in regional centres throughout Australia. The

salaries of the officers range from $7950 to $16285.

- Branches of the Office are now operating on a

small scale in all. of the capital cities in premises

formerly occupied by the Legal Service Bureaux.

. The Australian Legal Aid Office was established

by the Attorney-General, Senator Lionel Murphy, Q.C.,

last year to provide legal advice and assistance to all

persons in need, especially those for whom the

Australian Government had a special responsibility.

These include pensioners, ex-servicemen and newcomers

to Australia. There will be co-operation between the

Office and the Aboriginal Legal Services so that

aborigines will be able.to use either service.

- The Office will work in conjunction with

community welfare organisations and will provide a

general problem solving service which will be.available

to the ordinary man and woman when faced with legal

problems. ' Offices will be sited in locations vfhere

access to legal advice is either too costly or too

difficult to obtain. '

■ The role of the Office will be complementary

to the role of the private practitioner and it will

work closely with Law Societies and existing Legal Aid

Committees. It is expected that the private legal

profession will continue to handle the greater part of

litigation in the courts.

. . Apart from the capital cities, "storefront"

offices will be located in the suburbs and in country

areas. For example,, premises have already been secured

in Elizabeth in South Australia. ■

38,

As staff and premises become available during

the year, branches of the Office will also be established

in Newcastle, Wollongong, Geelong, Townsville, Fremantle ·

and Alice Springs. Further centres are under consideration. .

Senator Murphy is at present studying the

recommendations contained in the Interim Report of the

Legal Aid Review Committee. He will table the full

report of this Committee in the Parliament.

The Committee was appointed by the Attorney-

General last year to examine the areas of need for the

provision of legal assistance and advice, and, in

particular, the areas of need not covered by existing

legal aid schemes. It is examining how legal advice ·

and assistance should be provided, in what areas they

should be provided by a salaried legal service and how

such legal assistance should be financed. .

Some of the recommendations contained in the

Interim Report include

_ . funds for legal assistance in Courts of

. Petty Sessions throughout Australia

. ' funds for the provision of "Duty Solicitors"

. in Petty Sessions Courts throughout

. Australia,· and ' . -

. the possibility of a flying legal aid

• service to provide legal advice for .

. . people in remote areas.

Canberra. . .

March 3, 1974. · ■ ^

19/74. . ,

FIRST PARLIAMENTARY COUNSEL APPOINTED QUEEN'S COUNSEL

The Attorney-General, Senator Lionel Murphy,.Q.C.,

announced today the appointment of Mr.Charles Kennedy Comans,■