Law Society Flags Key Election Issues

Christine Smyth

The Queensland Law Society (QLS) has called on all political parties to reform the law so that councils are required to obtain market value when they exercise a power of sale to recover unpaid rates.

The QLS also wants to see a continued roll out of specialist domestic violence courts throughout Queensland, the end of mandatory sentencing, and a per-capita increase in Legal Aid and legal assistance funding.

These reforms – and many others – are contained in a Call To Parties Statement, which was unanimously passed by the QLS Council ahead of the November 25 state election.

The latest Call to Parties highlights key legal and social justice issues the QLS wants political parties to consider.

QLS President Christine Smyth said the statement was drafted after consultation with the Society’s members, and covered a range of issues solicitors had flagged as critical for government to address.

“Each election, both state and federal, we develop these statements based on many months of consultation with our profession and the expert members of our 25 policy committees,” Ms Smyth said.

“Our Call to Parties statement calls on key parties to commit to addressing our highlighted concerns, and providing a response prior to the election.

The 2017 Call to Parties statement sets out the following 10 areas for politicians to address:

  •     Queensland’s law reform process
  •     Judicial Commission for Queensland
  •     Access to justice in Queensland
  •     Court resourcing
  •     Criminal law in Queensland
  •     Children’s law in Queensland
  •     Family and domestic violence matters
  •     Rights of small business and property owners
  •     Access to fair compensation schemes in Queensland
  •     Consumer protection for Queenslanders

“The priorities in our Call to Parties statement are wide-ranging, and I would like to thank all involved in the consultation for this document,” Ms Smyth said.

“We will publish the parties’ responses in full in the February edition of our monthly journal, Proctor.”

Ms Smyth said the heads of key parties would receive personal copies of the statement.

“As always, our aim is to present issues of great importance to both the profession and the public, and then provide an opportunity for the parties to respond to those items,” Ms Smyth said.

“With nearly 13,000 solicitors in Queensland, our profession make up a decent part of our local communities.

“As such, they are very well aware of local issues, not only in the legal profession but also in their communities.

“I look forward to the response from our major parties, and appreciate their commitment to good law for the public good in Queensland.”

External link: 2017 Call To Parties Statement

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