WGAR News: Coalition's proposed cuts 'a heartless decision' says ALSWA: Aboriginal Legal Service WA

Newsletter date: 9 September 2013

Editorial Note:

'WGAR News' monitors the media, including alternative media.
'WGAR News' gives priority to grassroots Aboriginal voices and grassroots voices in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples' rights.
'WGAR News' publishes information and opinions from a wide range of sources.
These opinions expressed are not necessarily the opinions of WGAR.
As such, 'WGAR News' does not endorse any particular political party, but simply includes information on political parties for the interest of readers.

Contents:

* Coalition's proposed cuts 'a heartless decision' says ALSWA
* Amy McQuire, Tracker: WA Aboriginal legal aid service hits out at Coalition's "heartless" cuts
* NATSILS: Coalition signals 20 per cent funding cut to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
* ALRM - Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement: Shame!!Shame!!Shame!!
* Jane Lee, The Age: Coalition cuts to indigenous legal aid under fire
* Jane Lee, The Age: Jail risk 'higher for indigenous' under Coalition tenure
* Patricia Karvelas, The Australian: 'Not a good start for PM for indigenous Australians'
* ABC News: Coalition caned over claims of cash cuts
* ACOSS concerned by proposed cuts to Aboriginal legal services and foreign aid

* Background to Justice Reinvestment, Aboriginal imprisonment and Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

* COALITION'S PROPOSED CUTS 'A HEARTLESS DECISION' SAYS ALSWA

- Media Statement

Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia: Coalition's proposed cuts 'a heartless decision' Says ALSWA
http://www.als.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=291:c...
6 Sep 13: "The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) is outraged over the proposed cuts should the Abbott government win power at the Federal Election.
In an announcement made late in their campaign, the Coalition have revealed that cuts worth $42 million will be made under "Further Coalition Savings" as part of reprioritising the Indigenous Policy Reform Program, and that it plans to cut funding to Indigenous legal aid services around the country by 20 percent if elected. ...
Acting CEO of ALSWA, Mr. John Bedford said that the cuts would have a disastrous effect on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged within our community.
"This is a heartless decision. It will force ALSWA to make cuts to its services, and in particular, ALSWA’s capacity to advise and represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people facing criminal charges will be severely affected. This will inevitably result in more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being unrepresented in court and increasing the numbers in this state’s already over populated prisons" said Mr. Bedford. ... "

* AMY MCQUIRE, TRACKER: WA ABORIGINAL LEGAL AID SERVICE HITS OUT AT COALITION'S "HEARTLESS" CUTS

- News

newsTracker: WA Aboriginal legal aid service hits out at Coalition's "heartless" cuts
http://tracker.org.au/2013/09/aboriginal-legal-aid-could-be-cut-under-co...
6 Sep 13: "NATIONAL: The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA has hit out at the Coalition’s proposed plans to cut $42 million to the Indigenous Legal Assistance and Policy Reform Program, saying its "outraged" at the announcement coming at the 11th hour. ... And Acting CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) John Bedford said there was outrage over the proposal. "This is a heartless decision," Mr Bedford said. "It will force ALSWA to make cuts to its services, and in particular, ALSWA’s capacity to advise and represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people facing criminal charges will be severely affected. ... " Amy McQuire, a Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman, editor of Tracker

* NATSILS: COALITION SIGNALS 20 PER CENT FUNDING CUT TO ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER LEGAL SERVICES

- Media Release

NATSILS - National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services: Coalition signals 20 per cent funding cut to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
http://www.natsils.org.au/News/MediaReleases.aspx
http://www.natsils.org.au/portals/natsils/Media%20Releases/6.9.13%20Coal...
6 Sep 13: "Hidden amongst the Coalition’s costings announcement yesterday was a funding cut of $42m to the Indigenous Policy Reform Program, the program which provides funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) across Australia.
NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said that while NATSILS are seeking clarification from the Coalition as to the full detail of the indicated cuts, if such a move is solely targeted at ATSILS funding it would be highly disappointing given the Coalition’s stated commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the fact that such a cut would represent an almost 20 per cent reduction in funding for ATSILS and would signal a significant backwards step to 2008 funding levels. ...
"given that our peoples are 15 times more likely to be incarcerated and that the rates of incarceration have risen by 50 per cent in the past 10 years compared to only 5 per cent for the rest of the population, access to culturally competent legal assistance services is a critical issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples." ... "

* ALRM - ABORIGINAL LEGAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: SHAME!!SHAME!!SHAME!!

- Media Release

ALRM - Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement: Shame!!Shame!!Shame!!
http://www.alrm.org.au/mediareleases/2013/Media%20Release%202013%20-%206...
6 Sep 13: "It is that time again, another Federal election, where, we as Aboriginal Australians, are yet again, the political football. ...
The Coalition, have kicked another political goal, having released their intention to cut funding by up to 20% in current Aboriginal Legal Services funding across the Nations. ... "

* JANE LEE, THE AGE: COALITION CUTS TO INDIGENOUS LEGAL AID UNDER FIRE

- News

The Age: Coalition cuts to indigenous legal aid under fire
http://www.theage.com.au/national/coalition-cuts-to-indigenous-legal-aid...
6 Sep 13: "Indigenous Australians could be more likely to go to jail under an Abbott government in light of Coalition plans to cut $42 million from indigenous legal services. That is the view of Shane Duffy, the chairman of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (NATSILS). He said the planned cuts were disappointing after Liberal leader Tony Abbott previously said he hoped to be a "prime minister for Aboriginal affairs". "It's not a good look to start by slashing the program that provides funding to culturally competent legal assistance services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," Mr Duffy said. ... " Jane Lee, Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age

* JANE LEE, THE AGE: JAIL RISK 'HIGHER FOR INDIGENOUS' UNDER COALITION TENURE

- News

The Age: Jail risk 'higher for indigenous' under Coalition tenure
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/j...
7 Sep 13: "If indigenous legal aid groups were forced to reduce services as a result of the cuts: ''People will be left to face court without any advice or representation, which is meant to be a basic right protected in Australia,'' Mr Duffy said. [Shane Duffy, the chairman of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (NATSILS)] ''Having individuals attend court without representation will clog already heavy court lists, cause catastrophic interruptions to the justice system and arguably increase the likelihood of people going to jail and the perpetuation of the cycle of over-incarceration." ... " Jane Lee, Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age

* PATRICIA KARVELAS, THE AUSTRALIAN: 'NOT A GOOD START FOR PM FOR INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS'

- News

The Australian: 'Not a good start for PM for indigenous Australians'
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/election-2013/not-a-goo...
7 Sep 13: "WARREN Mundine, who will head a prime ministerial indigenous council under an Abbott government, has criticised the Coalition's decision to cut Aboriginal legal services, saying it would be part of a wide-ranging review. The Coalition has announced a cut of $42 million to the Indigenous Policy Reform Program, which provides funding to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services across Australia. Mr Mundine told The Weekend Australian he did not support the decision, but said he would be reviewing all indigenous programs, including legal services." Patricia Karvelas

- Related News

The Australian: Indigenous groups angered at proposed Coalition cuts
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/indigenous-g...
6 Sep 13: "INDIGENOUS groups are furious that the Coalition has used its 11th hour Budget savings to reveal cuts worth $42 million over a four year period to indigenous affairs. Under "Further Coalition Savings'', the Coalition included "reprioritise Indigenous policy reform program'' a cut of $42 million over four years." Patricia Karvelas

* ABC NEWS: COALITION CANED OVER CLAIMS OF CASH CUTS

- News

ABC News: Coalition caned over claims of cash cuts
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-06/coalition-costings-nt-reaction/494...
6 Sep 13: "There have been sharp reactions in the Northern Territory to Coalition revelations of funding cuts to Indigenous legal aid services and a dispute about money pledged for a second Darwin hospital. ... The ALP says the move will strip organisations like the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) and the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service to the bone. NAAJA chief executive Priscilla Collins said the cuts would take the service back to 2008 funding levels. "People are not going to have access to justice, which means people are going to be going to court unrepresented," she said. .. "

- Related Audio

National Indigenous Radio Service: Labor slams proposed cuts to legal aid
http://www.nirs.org.au/blog/NEWS/article/30138/Labor-slams-proposed-cuts...
6 Sep 13: "Labor says the Coalition will remove 42 million dollars from legal aid services, including the Indigenous Legal Assistance and Policy Reform Program, if it's elected to power as part of their cuts to the budget. The Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday revealed Indigenous legal aid would be cut, ... "

* ACOSS CONCERNED BY PROPOSED CUTS TO ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICES AND FOREIGN AID

- Media Release

ACOSS - Australian Council of Social Service: ACOSS concerned by proposed cuts to Aboriginal legal services and foreign aid
http://www.acoss.org.au/media/release/acoss_concerned_by_proposed_cuts_t...
6 Sep 13: "Speaking from the G20 Leaders Summit in Russia, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Council of Social Service, Dr Cassandra Goldie said, "It is very disappointing that some of the Coalition's proposed savings measures appear to target some of the most disadvantaged people at home and overseas
"We are concerned that in addition to the $4.5 billion cut to foreign aid, a proposed cut of $42 million over 4 years to the ‘Indigenous Policy Reform Program' could cut funding from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services.
"Affected services tell us they are still awaiting further details about the announcement that comes without notice or consultation with services that provide vital assistance to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our community.
"The incarceration rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a national shame, accounting for a quarter of the prison numbers despite being less than 3 per cent of the total population. It is difficult to see how the proposed funding cut is consistent with our shared interest in reducing this disturbing gap. ... ""

* BACKGROUND TO JUSTICE REINVESTMENT, ABORIGINAL IMPRISONMENT AND ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY:

Last updated: 6 September 2013

http://indymedia.org.au/2012/12/17/background-to-aboriginal-imprisonment...

- - -

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

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