Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (16:24): I rise to contribute to this motion on the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Racial Discrimination Act in June 1975. The enactment of the Racial Discrimination Act was a critical turning point in Australia's history because of the role it played in signposting Australia's commitment to protecting and promoting what were internationally recognised and universal human rights.
Federal cuts to legal assistance funding will undermine efforts to tackle domestic violence, say the Australian Greens.
Legal assistance and domestic violence are two separate agenda items for tomorrow's Law, Crime and Community Safety Council Meeting, but the Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright says they should be addressed together.
"If the Government is really genuine about addressing domestic violence, they need to fund the services out there helping people to understand their legal options and act on them," Senator Wright said.
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.
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."