Newsletter date: 9 March 2015
* Analysis / Opinion: Larissa Behrendt, The Guardian: We won't overcome Indigenous disadvantage by cutting legal services
* Analysis / Opinion: Amy McQuire, New Matilda: Aboriginal Legal Service Faces Uncertain Future Despite Govt Promise Of No Cuts
* Audio: Ninah Kopel, The Wire: The Aboriginal Legal Service defending their right to defend [Featuring Phil Naden & Kirstie Parker]
* Audio: Warren Barnsley with Koori Radio, NIRS: NSW/ACT legal service flags reduced operation with funding cuts [Featuring Phil Naden]
* Media Release: Greens Senators Rachel Siewert & Penny Wright: Indigenous legal cuts a national embarrassment
* Analysis / Opinion: Helen Davidson, The Guardian: Indigenous legal service to shut down after losing federal funding
* Analysis / Opinion: Helen Davidson, The Guardian: Indigenous services get only short-term reprieve in federal funding round
* WGAR Background: Aboriginal Peoples and the impact of the Federal Budget
* WGAR Background: Justice Reinvestment, Aboriginal imprisonment and Aboriginal deaths in custody
WGAR News Public Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en-GB#!forum/wgar-news
WGAR News - Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
- Analysis / Opinion
The Guardian: We won't overcome Indigenous disadvantage by cutting legal services
6 Mar 15: "Claims that cuts to Aboriginal legal aid won’t affect frontline services are bogus, with services already working on a shoestring. And this from a government that said jobs for Indigenous people are a priority ... The announcement yesterday that the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (Natsils) will be closing because of funding cuts is very bad news for Indigenous communities across the country." Larissa Behrendt, an academic, writer, film maker and Indigenous advocate
- Analysis / Opinion
New Matilda: Aboriginal Legal Service Faces Uncertain Future Despite Govt Promise Of No Cuts
3 Mar 15: "The slashing and burning of Aboriginal programs funded by the Commonwealth continues, with the Legal Service one of those under threat. Amy McQuire reports. The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT could be forced to close some of its offices and is already losing dedicated staff, as it anticipates $3 million in federal cuts to the already underfunded organisation. The Abbott government announced in last year’s budget that it was slashing $13.4 million nationally from critically needed Aboriginal legal services around the country, ... " By Amy McQuire, a senior reporter with New Matilda. She's the former editor of Tracker magazine and the National Indigenous Times.
The Wire: The Aboriginal Legal Service defending their right to defend
2 Mar 15: "Funding cuts could mean the end of legal services that help keep Indigenous Australians out of prison, and children with their families. The service was created in 1970 to provide free legal advice and assistance for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in NSW and ACT. The Aboriginal Legal Service is now concerned that 20% of their federal government funding will be cut." Produced by Ninah Kopel
"Featured in story:
* Phil Naden- CEO of Aboriginal Legal Service
* Kirstie Parker- Co-Chair of The National Congress of Australia’s First People"
NIRS: NSW/ACT legal service flags reduced operation with funding cuts
4 Mar 15: "The New South Wales/ACT Aboriginal Legal Service says job losses and office closures are on the cards as the organisation faces impending Federal funding cuts. ... CEO of the New South Wales Aboriginal Legal Service, Phil Naden, told Koori Radio the cuts will have a major impact on the organisation's capacity." Warren Barnsley with Koori Radio
- Media Release
Greens Senators Rachel Siewert & Penny Wright: Indigenous legal cuts a national embarrassment
6 Mar 15: "The Australian Greens have condemned the funding cuts to indigenous legal aid services, which will see the peak body NATSILS close its doors in June.
Spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright said the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service advocacy was crucial to addressing shocking levels of indigenous incarceration.
"More than one in four prisoners are Aboriginal, despite making up only a fraction of our population. Too many are in jail because of inadequate legal understanding and representation," Senator Wright said.
"These cuts demonstrate an appalling lack of concern about shameful over-incarceration of Aboriginal people. ... " ...
Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues Senator Rachel Siewert said: "This is a national embarrassment that the first so called Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs has allowed this to go ahead.
"Indigenous legal aid services around the country are already suffering from funding cuts of $42 million.
"To refuse NATSILS the $295,000 it needs to keep going is shameful, as it costs governments more than $100,000 a year for every person in jail.""
- Analysis / Opinion
The Guardian: Indigenous legal service to shut down after losing federal funding
5 Mar 15: "The peak body for Indigenous legal services will shut its doors after being denied a portion of federal government funding under the Indigenous advancement strategy (IAS) grants scheme. ... Other organisations which missed out entirely said they would have to close offices and wind up long-running frontline services. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Natsils) will shut down in June after it found out its application for an IAS grant was unsuccessful. ... " Helen Davidson in Darwin
- Analysis / Opinion
The Guardian: Indigenous services get only short-term reprieve in federal funding round
6 Mar 15: "Organisations say programs received a year or two of funding at best, leaving them with continuing uncertainty in the long term ... More than 1,300 applications were reportedly knocked back. The $680m strategy is the result of more than half a billion dollars in cuts from 2014 budgets, the ABC reported. Guardian Australia has spoken to organisations that have expressed frustration at the IAS results, saying programs were at best given just an extra year or two at the same level of funding, and no relief from uncertainty regarding their long-term future." Helen Davidson, a reporter for Guardian Australia
WGAR Background: Aboriginal Peoples and the impact of the Federal Budget
(last updated: 1 February 2015)
WGAR Background: Justice Reinvestment, Aboriginal imprisonment and Aboriginal deaths in custody
(last updated: 15 February 2015)
- - -
WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
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