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Thursday, 14 November 1985
Page: 2162

Senator TATE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. The Minister will be aware that the terms of office of members of the Commonwealth Legal Aid Council expired on 30 June 1985, the date from which the Council ceased to operate. Can the Minister inform the Senate what action is being taken to establish a new national legal aid advisory body?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am advised by the Attorney that at his direction the Department is developing a proposal as a matter of priority for the creation of an efficient and effective national legal aid monitoring and co-ordination mechanism, having regard to the contents of the final report of the departmental legal aid task force, which report was published in August this year. In general terms, the proposal at this stage is likely to involve the establishment of an identifiably separate part of the Department in conjunction with an appropriately constituted effective advisory body. The Attorney-General has indicated that he will consult interested persons, groups and bodies, including, of course, State legal aid commissions, on the detailed proposal when he has had an opportunity of considering it.