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Cuts to legal sector must be stopped

I move that the Senate:

1.      notes the effects of Commonwealth funding uncertainty on the legal assistance sector, including the possible closure of community legal centres, staff loss, a reduction in services to clients and declining staff morale;

2.      acknowledges that, unless this uncertainty is addressed and funding restored, critical services directed at family violence, child protection, disability and mental health and services to regional, remote and Aboriginal land Torres Strait Islander communities may be irrevocably compromised;

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Old parties close ranks in Oil for Food inquiry

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (16:14): I rise as the chair of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee to speak to the tabling of this report into the work undertaken by the Australian Federal Police's oil for food task force. Firstly, I would like to place on record my thanks to the legal and constitutional affairs committee secretariat, so competently led by the committee secretary, Ms Sophie Dunstone, for their support to the committee throughout this inquiry.

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Remembering Malcolm Fraser

Penny Wright 24 Mar 2015

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (14:25):  I too stand today to offer a personal reflection on the life and legacy of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, and to offer my sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

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Greens urge caution on MySchool changes

Penny Wright 22 Mar 2015

The Australian Greens have warned changes to the MySchool website to be announced today risk distorting education priorities and will not provide a holistic representation of local schools.

Australian Greens spokesperson for  schools Senator Penny Wright said NAPLAN scores didn't represent school achievement and warned new comparative features would create unfair contrasts.

"Under this new plan, you'll be comparing apples with oranges and coming up with bananas," Senator Wright said.

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Greens condemn NT Government's gun giveaway

Penny Wright 19 Mar 2015

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright says the Northern Territory Government's shotgun raffle is completely inappropriate.

Senator Wright, who is currently chairing a Senate inquiry into illicit firearms, said even though the gun would go to a licenced shooter, it was surprising the NT Government would offer a weapon as a prize to hunters to putting their permit returns.

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Mental health services losing staff due to funding uncertainty

I move that the Senate:

1. notes the effects of Commonwealth funding uncertainty on the mental health sector, including staff loss, a reduction in services to clients and declining staff morale;

2. understands that 40 per cent of mental health organisations have already experienced loss of staff due to funding uncertainty, as outlined in a survey by Mental Health Australia;    

3. notes that skilled mental health practitioners have commenced leaving rural communities to find work in urban areas due to employment uncertainty;  

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