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Speech: Tribunals Amalgamation Bill 2014

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (12:36):  I rise to speak on the government's Tribunals Amalgamation Bill 2014, which provides the legislative framework for very significant reforms to Australia's merits review system. If enacted, this bill will amalgamate four separate specialist Commonwealth tribunal systems into one mega-administrative appeals tribunal.

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Deradicalisation funds are small change, communities need more help

Greens Leader Christine Milne says it's about time federal funds started flowing for deradicalisation programs in Australian communities.

"It has been almost eight months since Australians were first sent off to another unwinnable war in the Middle East, but only now is the Abbott government starting to act on countering violent extremism at home," said Senator Milne.

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PM Abbott must explain Coalition softening on illegal weapons

Senate inquiry finds more needs to be done to address gun crime...

A Senate investigation into illegal firearms has today recommended more funding for law enforcement agencies to tackle gun crime in Australia.

The inquiry, initiated by Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright, found a lack of quality data and national inconsistencies were hampering efforts to understand the black market.

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Legal aid reversal welcome, but just the start

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright says the Government should not stop at reversing cuts to the legal assistance sector, but look at increasing funding in the upcoming budget.

"Legal assistance services were operating on a shoe-string budget before the Attorney-General's cuts," Senator Wright said.

"Today's policy reversal is extremely welcome, but this should only be the beginning. The Productivity Commission's recent report said $200 million more was required just to address urgent need."

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Liberal, Labor knock back urgent bid to save community legal services

The Labor and Liberal parties have today voted against a Senate motion to increase funding for community legal services, as centres across the country turn clients away amid funding uncertainty.

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said she was extremely disappointed the Government and Opposition had voted against the Greens motion to increase funding for the sector in the upcoming Federal Budget.

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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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