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Reinstate funding to the Aboriginal Legal Service in Tasmania

This petition had 1,010 supporters


Give us back our Legal Service!

The Australian Prime Minister - Tony Abbott and Attorney General - George Brandis have de-funded the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s (TAC) legal service program (Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service) after 42 years of service to our community. 

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre had no warning of the decision and have been given only three weeks to close the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service. There are no compliance breaches and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has an impeccable financial record. The TAC ALS funding application agreed to meet every criteria set down by the Attorney General’s Department, especially given our experience after 42 years of doing everything properly.

A Victorian mob has taken the money and will set up in Tasmania to service vulnerable members of our community. This is culturally inappropriate and a breach of our right to determine our own affairs, in our own community.

Apart from running a legal service for members of the Aboriginal community, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre offers a one stop shop for Aborigines and their families. Aboriginal people who face court and require assistance with their legal issues are provided with a holistic wrap around service to support them and their families. This allows the Aboriginal community the best chance of recovering and addressing their legal issues.

If the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service doesn’t receive funding back, there is a huge risk that more of our community will be locked up, will go to court without a lawyer, or be forced to use the junior lawyer provided by the new service provider who doesn’t fully understands their circumstances.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has long recognised the provision of legal services; this is only one piece of the puzzle to address all the disadvantages and discrimination Aborigines experience. 

Funding lawyers in isolation from other programs like, youth, health and cultural programs won’t address the underlying disadvantage in any community – it’s like putting a band aid on a festering sore. No legal service operated from another State will work, if it sits outside of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the chosen community controlled model. Community controlled and run Aboriginal organisations throughout Australia have always believed that this means that it is only the local Aboriginal people who are fully involved in delivering services to our own people in our own communities. If you believe in this and you do the same in your communities, then you will understand our grave concerns about what the future will look like of all our organisations.

Please sign this petition, to help put pressure on the Commonwealth Government to re-instate our funding so we can continue to run a state of the art and holistic service for the Aboriginal Community in Tasmania.

 



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Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Inc needs your help with “Federal Attorney General, Senator George Brandis^: Reinstate funding to the Aboriginal Legal Service in Tasmania”. Join Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Inc and 1,009 supporters today.