Thank you for the opportunity to answer questions regarding Queensland’s community legal centres. The Pirate Party has members aside from myself who work or volunteer for community legal centres across the country, so these questions are of interest to us.
The Pirate Party has a membership driven, deliberative, evidence based policy approach. Once a policy is drafted, it is put to the party membership for a vote for ratification or further amendments. Currently, the party does not have Domestic Violence Policy in its platform, though it is currently being discussed by a working group and the policy development committee.
Therefore, the following answers are what I would personally advocate and present to the Pirate Party working group and policy development committee with the intent for it to be drafted into policy and presented for a member vote.
1. What commitments will you make in response to urgent legal assistance needs?
The Pirate Party would reverse the Commonwealth funding cuts under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance, and look to longer term funding under that program.
Additionally, we would overturn the same-sex marriage plebiscite proposed by the Coalition and attempt to have the $158 million allocated to that funnelled back into Legal Aid and CLC programs.
We are also looking into the setting up of a working group to examine this area of policy. This working group would be set up after our National Congress in July.
2. How will you support community legal centres to meet the increasing demand for family violence help?
Outside of the funding issues listed above, we would examine Domestic Violence Legislation at the Federal level and work with the Queensland State Government to ensure that State legislation is brought in to line and made consistent with national standards.
3. What commitments and responses are you making to the proposals of the Safety First in Family Law five-step plan?
As mentioned, the Pirate Party is developing a national strategy to tackle domestic violence, and will be informed by the five-step plan. We are currently developing a specific Domestic Violence Policy, and would seek to incorporate this five step plan into said policy. Further, we would seek the appointment of additional Family Court Judges to reduce the delays currently experienced in the Family Court in Queensland. Our Basic Income Policy would address the financial issues described in the plan. Finally, we would support an education program to bring family law professionals up to speed on the relevant issues.
4. What plans and proposals do you have to prevent and respond to legal problems experienced by people with disability?
Our Health and Civil Liberties polices will address the concerns of people with disabilities being able to access legal assistance.
5. What is your response to the Change the Record blueprint and proposals, and what other policies to you have for addressing these issues?
We would agree with the Change the Record Blueprint and proposals. Further, we are currently developing a specific Prison Reform Policy that would further address these issues.