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COMMONWEALTH LEGAL AID COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL 1981

Order of the Day read for the adjourned debate on the Question--That this Bill be now read a second time.

Senator Evans moved an amendment, viz: Leave out all words after ""That'', insert ""the Senate is of the opinion that--

(a) the Commonwealth has a continuing national responsibility for the funding of legal aid, the States having amply demonstrated in the past that they have neither the resources nor the inclination to ensure equal access to the law; (b) the Commonwealth has an indispensable national role in the formulation of legal aid policy so as to ensure that legal services are delivered on a co-ordinated, rational and equitable basis;

(c) the Commonwealth Legal Aid Commission has a central national role to play in research, evaluating, advising upon, co-ordinating and monitoring the funding and delivery of legal aid services;

(d) the present functions of the Commonwealth Legal Aid Commission cannot be performed as adequately or effectively by a part-time Advisory Council and an Attorney-General's Department already subject to severe staffing constraints; and

(e) the proposals to abolish the Commonwealth Legal Aid Commission, to curtail the functions and limit the independence of its successor Advisory Council, and to limit the number of full-time officials working on legal aid policy and funding, are all to be deplored as marking the first steps toward the Commonwealth's ultimate abandonment of responsibility for legal aid funding''.

Debate ensued.

Question--That the words proposed to be left out be left out--put.

The Senate divided--

AYES, 26

Senator-- Senator-- Bishop McLaren Button Mason Cavanagh Melzer Chipp Mulvihill Coleman O'Byrne Colston Primmer Elstob Ryan Evans Sibraa Gietzelt Tate Grimes Walsh Hearn Wheeldon Keeffe McClelland Teller: McIntosh Robertson

NOES, 34

Senator-- Senator-- Archer Maunsell Baume Messner Bjelke-Petersen Missen Bonner Neal Carrick Puplick Chaney Rae Collard Reid Durack Scott Guilfoyle, Sim Dame Margaret Teague Hamer Thomas Jessop Townley Lajovic Walters Laucke, Watson Sir Condor Withers Lewis Young MacGibbon Martin Teller: Martyr Kilgariff

Amendment negatived accordingly.

Question--That this Bill be now read a second time--put and passed.

Bill read a second time.

The Senate, according to Order, resolved itself into Committee for the consideration of the Bill.

In the Committee

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole, debated and agreed to.

Bill to be reported without amendment.

The President resumed the Chair; and the Chairman of Committees (Senator Maunsell) reported accordingly.

On the motion of the Attorney-General (Senator Durack) the Report from the Committee was adopted, and the Bill read a third time.