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6 ί.υ < 2-< ^ 'ΐΙα > ^ Α _ Em b a r g o : 7 p , m , Sunday

QUEENSLAND BROADCAST NO, 13

LEGAL AID

SI X d

Su n d a y 15 J une 1975

I d o n ' t t h i n k a n y o n e w ould d e n y t h a t t h e

p r e s e n t Go v e r n m e n t has b e e n one of Au s t r a l ia ' s g r e a t ji

LAW-REFORMING GOVERNMENTS. We 'V E BEEN ANXIOUS TO

MODERNISE AND C LAR IFY AND, WHERE NECESSARY, STRENGTHEN

THE LAW ON A WHOLE RANGE OF ISSUES,

La s t y e a r we br o u g h t in our h is t o r ic T rade '

Pr a c t ic e s l e g i s l a t i o n w h ic h i s a l r e a d y p r o t e c t in g

CONSUMERS AND MAKING BUSINESS MORE COM PETITIVE BY

CLAMPING DOWN ON SUCH THINGS AS PRICE F IX IN G AND

MONOPOLISATION, We BROUGHT IN OUR CORPORATIONS AND J,

Se c u r it ie s B i l l - t r u e , i t ' s s t r u c k o p p o s it io n in

t h e Se n a t e , b u t I ' m h o p in g i t w il l soon b e

WORKING TO E LIM IN A T E LURKS AND MALPRACTICES IN THE

F IN A N C IA L WORLD, AFTER A L L , THE SENATE SELECT

Co m m it t e e on Se c u r it ie s a n d Ex c h a n g e m ade i t c r y s t a l

CLEAR THAT SUCH LE G ISLA TIO N WAS OVERDUE AND NECESSARY, ,

And a g a in , a s you know, Pa r l ia m e n t h a s p a s s e d t h e .

Fa m il y Law B i l l , w h ic h e s t a b l is h e s a s in g l e new ,

GROUND FOR DIVORCE AND SETS UP A FAM ILY COURT OF .

. ■ . . " |i

A u s t r a l ia to h a n d le a l l m a t r im o n ia l m a t t e r s , T hose

ARE JUST THREE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE DONE IN THE

FIE LD OF LAW REFORM,

2,

So y o u ' l l s e e t h e law i s c o n s t a n t l y c h a n g in g ,

AS INDEED IT SHOULD IN ANY DYNAMIC SO CIETY, T H A T 'S

ONE REASON WHY WE'VE SET UP THE AUSTRALIAN LEGAL A lD

Of f i c e t o g i v e a d v ic e on l e g a l p r o b l e m s t o p e o p l e

WHO NEED I T , I WANT TO EXPLAIN TO YOU THE REASONS

FOR T H IS NEW LEGAL A lD O FFIC E, I t 'S NOT JUST BECAUSE

OF THE CHANGES IN THE LAW BROUGHT ABOUT UNDER MY

Go v e r n m e n t , I t ' s b e c a u s e w e ' v e a l w a y s t a k e n t h e v ie w

THAT C IT IZ E N S IN A FREE SOCIETY HAVE AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT

TO EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW, FOR TOO LONG MANY

A u s t r a l ia n s h a v e b e e n d e n ie d a c c e s s t o our s y s t e m

o f j u s t i c e , T h e y ' v e . b e e n d e n ie d a c c e s s b e c a u s e t h e y

COULD NOT AFFORD THE SERVICES OF LAWYERS OR BECAUSE

THEY WERE NOT AWARE OF TH EIR RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW, OR

HOW TO GO ABOUT SECURING THOSE RIGHTS OR EVEN FIN D IN G

OUT ABOUT THEM,

, , , / 3

T h e e s t a b l is h m e n t o f t h e A u s t r a l i a n L e g a l

A i d Of f i c e i s a m a j o r s t e p b y t h e A u s t r a l i a n Go v e r n m e n t

TO ENSURE THAT A LL AUSTR ALIAN S/ IRRESPECTIVE OF .

MEANS/ HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO THE LAW AND THE LEGAL

p r o c e s s , J u s t a s w it h Me d ib a n k we a r e e n s u r in g t h a t

THE SERVICES OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION ARB A V AILAB LE

TO A LL WHO NEED THEM, WITH THE AUSTRALIAN LEGAL A lD

Of f i c e we a r e s e e in g t h a t l e g a l s e r v ic e s a r e

AVAILAB LE TO THOSE WHO NEED THEM. Do n ' t GET THE

IDEA THAT WE'RE TAKING OVER THE WORK OF LAWYERS AND

L IM IT IN G THEIR O PPO RTUNITIES, WlTH A VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS

w e ' v e h a d t h e warm s u p p o r t o f t h e l e g a l p r o f e s s io n in

SETTING UP T H IS SCHEME. In MANY CASES WE HAVE FOUND

THAT LEGAL A ID SERVICES ARE BEST PROVIDED BY U T IL IZ IN G

THE TALENTS OF THE PRIVATE LEGAL PROFESSION. I n

OTHER CASES THE SERVICE IS PROVIDED BY A SALARIED

SERVICE OF LAWYERS S K ILLE D IN THE FIELD S OF LAW THAT

MOST AFFECT THE ORDINARY C IT IZ E N , AND WORKING IN

CONJUNCTION WITH PRIVATE LEGAL PRACTITIONERS TO

WHOM A SUBSTANTIAL VOLUME OF WORK IS REFERRED.

, , . / 4

4.

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT WE'VE BEEN

SETTING UP WHAT WE CALL "SHOP-FRO NT" LEGAL OFFICES

IN MANY C IT IE S , SUBURBS AND TOWNS, THEY ARE

USUALLY STAFFED BY TWO LAWYERS, TH ERE'S A LARGE BRANCH

o f f i c e i n B r is b a n e - i t ' s l o c a t e d i n t h e HIM B u i l d i n g

i n A nn St r e e t - a n d . t h e r e a r e f o u r o t h e r r e g io n a l

o f f ic e s i n Qu e e n s l a n d , i n I p s w ic h , To w n s v i l l e ,

Ro c k h a m p t o n a n d I n a l a , A l l t h e s e o f f ic e s o p e r a t e i n

CONJUNCTION WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY AND WELFARE

ORGANISATIONS, In THE YEAR OR MORE SINCE THE SCHEME

HAS BEEN FULLY WORKING, IT HAS THOROUGHLY PROVED

ITS POPULARITY AND NECESSITY, THERE HAS BEEN A

TREMENDOUS DEMAND FOR ITS SERVICES, MORE THAN

5 0 ,0 0 0 PERSONAL INTERVIEWS HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED, I n

t h e l a s t Bu d g e t we p r o v id e d n e a r l y $9 m i l l i o n for

t h e L e g a l A i d Of f i c e , of w h ic h more t h a n $3^ m i l l i o n

i s b e in g p a id Td t h e p r iv a t e p r o f e s s io n for i t s SERVICES

IN LEGAL A ID MATTERS,

, , , / 5

5 ,

It i s o n l y n a t u r a l t h a t i n a new s e r v ic e

OF TH IS KIND P R IO R ITY SHOULD GO TO THOSE WHO MOST

NEED IT AND TO PEOPLE FOR WHOM THE AUSTRALIAN

Go v e r n m e n t h a s a s p e c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , I 'm

TH IN KIN G OF PENSIONERS, A LL THOSE RECEIVING SOCIAL

SERVICES, EX-SERVICEMEN, STUDENTS, ABORIGINES AND ■ X . . .

MIGRANTS, A l l SUCH PEOPLE’ ARE EN TITLED TO ASSISTANCE

FROM THE O F F IC E , INCLUDING ASSISTANCE IN ANY COURT

PROCEEDINGS, FOR MATTERS A R IS IN G UNDER ANY LAW -

St a t e or F e d e r a l . B u t e v e r y o n e c a n g e t a s s is t a n c e

FOR MATTERS A R IS IN G UNDER FEDERAL LAW, INCLUDING

OF COURSE, THE NEW FAM ILY LAW, THE ONLY REQUIREMENT

IS THAT PEOPLE SA TISFY A TEST OF THEIR MEANS AND NEEDS,

Wh e r e t h e o f f ic e p r o v id e s s i m p l e , p r o b l e m - s o l v in g

ADVICE ON LEGAL MATTERS THERE IS N 'T EVEN A MEANS TEST.

El i g i b i l i t y i s d e t e r m in e d on t h e b a s i s o f a n in t e r v ie w

a l o n e , An d , a s w it h a l l in t e r v ie w s or d e a l in g s w it h

LEGAL A ID OFFICERS, THE ATMOSPHERE IS RELAXED AND

FR IE N D LY, AND ABSOLUTE C O N F ID E N T IA LIT Y IS PRESERVED.

I I I / 6

6 .

I w o u ld n' t l i k e you to t h in k t h a t t h e

Au s t r a l ia n Le g a l A i d Of f i c e can s o l v e a l l . your

pro b le m s w it h a m a g ic w a n d, But i t can h e l p you w it h

LEGAL ADVICE, So IF YOU HAVE ANY LEGAL WORRIES,

IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF YOUR RIGHTS OR THE HELP AVAILABLE

TO YOU, DON'T HESITATE TO SEEK AN APPOINTMENT, NOTHING

THAT PASSES BETWEEN THE LAWYER AND THE CLIENT W ILL BE

PASSED ON TO ANY OTHER PERSON OR ANY GOVERNMENT .

DEPARTMENT, To MEET THE LANGUAGE PROB4EMS OF NEWCOMERS,

t h e L e g a l A i d Of f i c e h a s law yer s who s p e a k t h e la n g u a g e

OF THE MAJOR ETHNIC GROUP IN A PARTICULAR LOCALITY,

And where n e c e s s a r y , t h e h e l p of o th e r c o u n s e ll o r s

AND SOCIAL SCIENTISTS W ILL BE CALLED IN TO HELP THE

PERSON IN NEED, THE GOVERNMENT IS ESPECIALLY PROUD

OF ITS IN IT IA T IV E IN THIS F IE LD , We ARE BRINGING

THE ADVANTAGES OF THE LAW TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER

BEFORE ENJOYED THOSE ADVANTAGES, I t 'S 'O U R AIM TO SEE

THAT NO ONE IS DENIED JUSTICE SIMPLY BECAUSE HE

OR SHE CAN'T AFFORD IT " IN SHORT, OUR AIM IS TO SEE A N O ^ f c S i D £ / M T . S

t h a t a l l Au s t r a l ia n c i t i z e n s a r e t r u l y e q u a l b e f o r e

A

t h e l a w ,