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QAILS Quarterly | December 2015

QAILS Quarterly

 

Highlighting the work of Queensland's community legal centres

Queensland community legal centres have over 30 years of service delivery experience providing free information, advice and referral, casework and representation to the community. 


Peter Mott, QAILS Learning and Development Officer

A Human Rights Act for Queensland

QAILS are delighted that the Queensland's Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath has announced a Parliament inquiry into whether there should be a Human Rights Act for Queensland.

Mrs D'Ath said that "this is an issue that many people in Queensland are passionate about and have advocated in favour of." The Committee will report by 30 June 2016 about whether Queensland needs a Human Rights Act and what the Act should contain. The effectiveness of Queensland's current laws and processes in protecting human rights will be considered, as well as possible improvements to existing laws.

“Queensland's democratic institutions need to be strengthened, and introducing a Human Rights Act is a sensible and measured response,” said QAILS Director James Farrell. “When governments take into account human rights then it has been shown that the laws they make, the services they deliver and the way the courts operate are improved.”

QAILS is encouraging all Queensland community legal centres to prepare submissions for the inquiry that will take place next year and to sign up to: http://www.humanrights4qld.com.au/

Showcasing the work of our members...

Homeless Person's Legal Clinic frees Jason* of debt

People experiencing chronic disadvantage often have problems with the police, particularly in relation to their presence in public spaces. QPILCH’s Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic (HPLC) undertakes legal work and helps vulnerable people with their criminal justice interactions, including fines.

Jason’s story shows how the HPLC supports clients who are being entrenched in debt by Queensland’s criminal justice system.
Read more... 


Student, Wendy Saunders
Cairns CLC assists diabetic student who is made to ‘feels like a junkie’

A north Queensland training organisation has been accused of discriminating against a student with diabetes after forcing her to inject lifesaving insulin off campus.

The Cairns Community Legal Centre wrote to Dreamtime Training claiming that by prohibiting the use of sharps, the organisation is breaching the Disability Standards for Education, Standards for Registered Training Organisations and the Disability Discrimination Act. They are yet to receive a response. Read more... 

Queensland's community legal centres in the spotlight

(Right to Left) Mayor Paul Antonio, Ms Meg O’Neill (Legal Services Coordinator) and Ms Sib Redfern (Business Services Manager)

Meg O’Neill, TASC’s Legal Services Coordinator and Sib Redfern, TASC Business Services Manager attended the Spinal Injuries Australia 2015 Inclusive Community Champions Award. At the ceremony TASC won the award for Excellence in Education and Awareness Raising for their role in educating schools and communities in regional, rural and remote South West Queensland about Cyberbullying / Sexting and Facebook Violations.

Members of Parliament, their staff and community lawyers met in Parliament on Tuesday 13 October to discuss the overwhelming need for free legal help for vulnerable Queenslanders and the lack of funding to meet this demand. The meeting took place at the Parliamentary Annex of Queensland Parliament House and saw Queensland State and Federal MPs and their staff meet with lawyers and other staff from community legal centres to discuss the barriers faced by vulnerable people with legal problems, trying to navigate complex and inaccessible systems and institutions.

Community Legal Centres Stars shone - Not one but two stars shone brightly at the Women Lawyers Association Queensland award ceremony in October. Community lawyers Rosslyn Monro from Women’s Legal Service and Abbey Richards of Caxton Legal Centre received awards for their outstanding contribution to the legal profession.

The Advocacy and Support Centre is delighted to announce that it has been successful in securing funding to provide Legal Services to Roma and the Maranoa Region.  These services will be commencing in early January. Nick Ware (Solicitor) and Carly Partridge (Administrative Support Officer) will be the new faces of our TASC Roma office.  

Suncoast Community Legal Service is pleased to announce the appointment of specialist staff who will be administering the Queensland State-wide Tenant Advice and Referral Service for the North Coast region, encompassing Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie local government areas - Christine Wittington (Team Leader), Sharon Slack and Val France will deliver this service.

Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg visited The Advocacy and Support Centre in Warwick on Friday 18 September to learn about the various TASC services available to the Warwick and Stanthorpe communities.

QAILS has joined almost 100 civil society organisations calling for stronger international protections for the human rights of older peoples, in an open letter to the Chair of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, Ambassador Mateo Estrémé.

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated and Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy have noted that there is much confusion about the role of guardian or enduring power of attorney, and many people do not understand their responsibilities, and how these responsibilities relate to the Mental Health Act. To overcome this they have developed a series of workshops which will be delivered across Queensland which will educate mental health consumers and their families about the guardianship framework. 
 
National Association of Community Legal Centre welcomed Rosslyn Monro as the new Chair of its Board.  Ms Monro is the Coordinator of Women’s Legal Service Queensland and brings with her a wealth of experience in leading community responses to domestic and family violence. 

Karen Williams received a National Disability Award for Excellence in Advocacy for her work developing QPILCH’s Health Advocacy Legal Clinic, which takes legal services into hospital wards. The text of the award states: "Barrister Karen Williams has driven the development of a new style of student advocacy and legal clinic which brings together lawyers, medicos and social workers."

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If you're looking for services in your local area, our Centre Locator provides a map-based search of all accredited Community Legal Centres in Queensland.

Visit the QAILS website for more information about QAILS or Queensland's community legal centres.

 


Mediawatch 

 
Annie Pappalardo from 612 ABC Radio, interviewed James Farrell, Director, QAILS about the announcement today of an inquiry about the introduction of Human Rights.

Legal groups call for increased funding for free DV services - A Queensland legal group has called for the Federal Government to increase funding to free legal services that help domestic violence victims.  Syndicated throughout regional media.

Thousands join survivor’s campaign to stop cross-examination by abusive partners.

Free legal services "overwhelmed" on the Coast - An overwhelmed community legal centre will receive a much-needed boost tomorrow, with the Sunshine Coast Law Association set to handover the proceeds from its annual golf day.

Senate passes CLC funding motion - In a motion led by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, additional funding for Queensland community legal centres has been passed.

Politicians meet with legal reps to solve funding uncertainties - State and federal politicians will meet with representatives from legal aid services across Queensland Tuesday in an attempt to resolve funding uncertainties

State's community legal centres facing funding crisis - Funding for the state's community legal centres has reached crisis levels, with representatives from the sector meeting with state and federal MPs in an attempt to find solutions.  Syndicated throughout Australia.

Conflict of interest cuts domestic violence victims from aid - The Gold Coast’s Robina Community Legal Centre president Ross Lee said: “The conflict of interest issue is a fundamental reason why the Gold Coast, or anywhere really, needs at least two legal aid centres so that people aren't turned away.
 
Funding cuts to community legal centres threaten free domestic violence court help - The Gold Coast’s only free legal centre has already ­provided advice on domestic violence more than 450 times this year but is still in line for a crippling 25 per cent ­funding cut.

Springborg throws support behind Warwick legal service - State Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg visited The Advocacy and Support Centre in Warwick yesterday to learn about the different services available. The story of his visit was covered by the following media outlets:
 
Qld Govt to fast-track legislation to increase penalties for breaches of domestic violence orders. Quotes from Rosslyn Monroe, Co-ordinator, Queensland Women's Legal Service.  Syndicated through Queensland media. 
Sector events
 
Submissions

Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee Inquiry: Relationships (Civil Partnerships) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015
Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee Inquiry: ‘Lemon’ Laws – An Inquiry into Consumer Protections and Remedies for Buyers of New Motor Vehicles Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee inquiry Criminal Law (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill 2015

Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee inquiry Coroners (Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board) Amendment Bill 2015

Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee Inquiry into Domestic and Family Violence Protection and Another Act Amendment Bill 2015
 
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