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Gillard must adopt anti-discrimination recommendations

Penny Wright 21 Feb 2013

Prime Minister Julia Gillard must accept the recommendations of the Australian Greens and her own backbenchers to remove blanket exemptions for religious organisations providing services from proposed anti-discrimination law.

Australian Greens spokesperson on Legal Affairs and committee member Senator Penny Wright said the Senate inquiry report released today adopted a number of Greens recommendations to bring anti-discrimination laws into line with international standards.

"The Australian Greens have always said current exemptions are unacceptable," Senator Wright said.

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Labor ignores legal services crisis

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.

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Motion to recognise crisis in access to justice sector

Penny Wright 6 Feb 2013

I move that the Senate

(a)    recognises:

(i)            Research from early 2012 by the Australia Institute which revealed that approximately 500,000 Australians are missing out on essential legal services;

(ii)           The 2012 ACOSS Community Sector Survey that highlighted how community legal centres are struggling to meet demand, waiting lists are increasing and approximately 14 per cent of people who sought assistance in 2010/11 were turned away;

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Drug and alcohol treatments to reduce crime, boost health

The Australian Greens have backed calls to divert non-violent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders with substance use problems into rehabilitation or treatment programs in place of prison terms.

 "We need Federal leadership for a new approach across the country to fix what is clearly a very broken system," said Australian Greens spokesperson on legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

"We must address the underlying causes of disadvantage, which mean many Aboriginal people do not have the same opportunities and support as other Australians.

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ASIO detention laws should be scrapped

Penny Wright 1 Feb 2013

The Australian Greens will continue to push for the repeal of controversial provisions in the ASIO Amendment Act, following the release of an independent report which found the provisions were unjustified.

Greens spokesperson on legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said the report confirmed the Greens were right to oppose the Special Powers Regime, which allows ASIO to question and detain people who are not suspects.

"We need to strike a balance on the need for community safety and protection of human rights," Senator Wright said.

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‘Offend’ rethink offers chance for further scrutiny

Penny Wright 31 Jan 2013

The Australian Greens have welcomed the Attorney General's decision to remove the prohibition on causing offence in the draft anti-discrimination bill.

Greens spokesperson on legal affairs Senator Penny Wright said the move would allow public scrutiny to turn to other areas of improvement needed in the legislation.

"Attorney General Nicola Roxon has made the right decision to remove this clause, which was, I believe, an unintentional overreach and drafting error," Senator Wright said.

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Penny's Blog: Intersex Australians overlooked in anti-discrimination laws

In this day and age, we rightly say it is unacceptable to discriminate against people because they are male or female. Over decades, politicians around the country have designed laws to prevent discrimination and give people an avenue of appeal against unfair treatment.

Under proposed new laws, it will be illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their sex or gender identity in all areas of public life. This is a welcome step.

However, there is still no legal protection from discrimination for those who are neither male nor female. 

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Mentally ill should have access to insurance

Insurance exceptions allowing discrimination against people with mental ill-health must be re-examined, says Australian Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs and Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright.

Through the Senate Inquiry process beginning today, the Australian Greens will seek to amend the exceptions for insurance agencies to make the sector more transparent and accountable.

"It is very disappointing and unfair if these exceptions are being exploited by insurance companies," Senator Wright said.

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Greens to question gaps and overreach in anti-discrimination laws

Penny Wright 20 Jan 2013

The Labor Government's proposed anti-discrimination laws fail to address significant areas of inequality, while potentially overreaching in other areas, says Australian Greens spokesperson on Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

At Senate hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, Senator Wright will question experts on the possible impacts of the draft legislation.

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