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No justice in the GST.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

SENATOR THE HON NICK BOLKUS

SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

No.60/98

15 September 1998

 

NO JUSTICE IN THE GST

 

“The cost of legal services will rise dramatically under a GST,” Shadow Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Senator Nick Bolkus said today. “This will deprive tens of thousands of Australians of access to justice.”

 

“The NSW Law Society has estimated that the GST will increase the cost of legal services by 8 percent, considerably more than the 6.4 percent estimated by John Howard.

 

Put simply, John Howard is asking Australians to pay a staggering $420 million extra a year — just to see their lawyer. For example, a typical workers compensation case or family law case will cost between $640 to $720 more. A typical personal injuries case will cost $2,800 more.

 

“Most Australians think that legal bills are exorbitant as it is. John Howard’s GST will make it virtually impossible for a large number of Australians to protect their rights.

 

“These revelations also come as the Government announced its latest backflip over its GST — the decision to make legal aid commissions GST free. This will not help access to justice either,’ Senator Bolkus said.

 

“Whilst this will save legal aid commissions the additional $4.625 million a year in GST they otherwise would have to pay, the commissions will still be forced into a cash flow crisis.

 

“This is because the commissions will have to pay the GST up front and will only be able to claim back the refund long after the event.

 

“Further, legal aid commissions have been given no additional resources to cope with the significant increase in their costs that will come from administering the GST.

 

“John Howard has already cut $232 million from legal aid funding over the 6 years he has budgeted for.

 

“That means over 100,000 Australians will not receive access to justice because of his cuts.

 

“John Howard obviously doesn’t care about helping Australians and their families to protect their rights. He believes in one law for the rich and another law for everyone else.

 

“The view from Kirribilli is obviously a long way away from his former suburban solicitor’s office window.”

 

Contact:

Simon Banks Ph: (02) 627 7 3388 (bh) or 0419 638 587 (m): Fax: (02) 6277 3062

 

 

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