Today's reversal to Federal cuts to Community Legal Centres is a humiliating backdown for George Brandis and a victory for access to justice on the Gold Coast.
Labor has been protesting these cuts for years, arguing vulnerable Australians in need of free legal services - including domestic violence victims - would suffer.
Last month Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and I visited the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre.
They told us that Brandis’ 30% cuts would mean the Centre would lose both of its domestic violence lawyers, leaving Gold Coast victims without legal support.
These devastating cuts would have seen the centre forced to turn away desperate women and children fleeing from family violence.
Brandis’ backflip is welcome, but his stubborn refusal to listen has caused months of funding uncertainty and stress, for CLCs and their clients.
Throughout this campaign, Gold Coast LNP MPs have done nothing to help. Indeed, Moncrieff MP Steve Ciobo labelled my calls to stop the cuts as “political opportunism” (see attached letter).
With that kind of attitude, he’s clearly done nothing to help his own constituents who need these services.
This is just another example of Gold Coast LNP MPs in safe seats taking their voters for granted.
While the local LNP stayed silent, Labor took up the argument for Gold Coasters.
Labor is committed to free legal services for Australians who need it, and will always give Community Legal Centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services the support they deserve.