MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
TERRI BUTLER MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR PREVENTING FAMILY VIOLENCE
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR UNIVERSITIES
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EQUALITY
MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH
KEENAN ADMITS: NO FUNDING FOR CROSS-EXAMINATION REFORM
Last night during Consideration in Detail in the Federation Chamber, Shadow Justice Minister Michael Keenan was asked a simple question: where is the funding for the government’s plans to prevent family violence victims from being cross-examined by their abusers in court?
His answer was clear – there is none. Mr Keenan instead listed spending measures that are unassociated with the cross-examination reform measure. Family consultants and Parenting Management Hearings are not going to have anything to do with fixing the problem of unrepresented litigants in family violence court cases.
Let’s be clear – you cannot fix this problem without additional funding. If unrepresented litigants are ordered to get some kind of legal representation, then it has to be paid for by someone, and it won’t be the litigants themselves.
This measure needs money for Legal Aid lawyers who can do that work – that’s why Labor pledged $43 million in its announcement on cross-examination reform earlier this year.
If this government thinks Legal Aid or Community Legal Centres can do this work within existing funding envelopes, when the services are already barely coping, then they have got to be joking. It’s impossible without cutting services to other needy people.
This government makes big promises when it comes to tackling the scourge of family violence. But without the funding to back in its announcements, it means very little.
THURSDAY, 1 JUNE 2017