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Labor ignores legal services crisis

Media Release
Penny Wright 6 Feb 2013

The Labor Government has refused to acknowledge a crisis in access to legal services, voting against a motion today by Australian Greens spokesperson on Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

"We have had report after report that confirms ordinary Australians are being priced out of the court system because they cannot afford legal representation and court fees," Senator Wright said.

"Australians should be able to seek legal assistance based on the merit of their claim and not the size of their wallet.

"For the Government to vote against this motion shows they are out of touch. Even the Coalition has recognised the need to improve access to justice, but the Federal Government are in denial.

"Access to the justice system is being eroded by changes to legal aid and high costs, including rising court fees.

"Each year, approximately 500,000 Australians miss out on essential legal services. Waiting lists are growing and more people are being turned away.

"Given almost half of all adult Australians will face a legal issue this year, the crisis cannot be ignored."

Senator Wright's motion was passed with the support of the Coalition. The full text of the motion can be found here.


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