ATSILS News

ATSILS meets with The Federal Attorney-General in Gladstone

Gladstone ATSILSThis week ATSILS CEO Shane Duffy and the team servicing Gladstone had the pleasure of meeting with The Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus MP. The Attorney-General was in regional Queensland conducting his first visits with legal assistance providers since becoming Attorney-General.
Meeting with the Attorney-General at the Gladstone Courthouse proved a great opportunity for the team to give a firsthand account of the important work ATSILS undertakes in providing access to justice for the most vulnerable in the community.
The ever-increasing demand for legal assistance was a key service delivery challenge on display in Gladstone during the AGs’ time there. During the visit, our CEO took the opportunity to announce that in the coming months ATSILS will be expanding its service by establishing a permanent office and workforce in Gladstone to respond to the identified legal needs of the community. This will include additional criminal law and court support officer positions. Currently, members of ATSILS criminal law team travel down from Rockhampton to service the Gladstone community. Having criminal law staff permanently based in Gladstone is critically needed to improve access to justice for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the region.
ATSILS would like to thank the Attorney-General for the valuable time shared in Gladstone. Throughout discussions, it was clear the Attorney-General had a deep understanding of the vital role legal assistance providers play in the justice system. He was sensitive to the service delivery challenges highlighted by the team and keenly aware of how far current resourcing is being overstretched in the legal assistance sector in attempts to meet spiralling demand.

Were you (or someone you help) flooded? Get legal help!

Legal Help for Disasters cause legal problems.
Are you experiencing:
• Insurance hassles?
• Changes to parenting and care arrangements?
• Tenancy and housing problems?
• Unsafe relationships?
• Unfair employment changes?
• Financial hardship – e.g. unmanageable or unfair debts?
For quality, free legal help, contact:
ATSILS (QLD) – 1800 012 255
Legal Aid Queensland – 1300 65 11 88
Community Legal Centres Queensland
07 3392 0092
ATSILS News

ATSILS welcomes a new ThroughCare Manager and Learning & Development Coordinator

ATSILS warmly welcomes our new ThroughCare Manager and Learning & Development Coordinator to the team. Helen and Aiden are pictured (seated) below embarking on their ATSILS induction journey.

Helen is our incoming ThroughCare Manager – and will lead a state-wide team focused on diverting clients (at high risk of re-offending) from the justice system. Helen is a descendant of the Ugurapul/Yuggera people of the Ipswich area. Helen is currently studying her Masters in Aboriginal Studies and brings a wealth of experience in working with young people.

Aiden joins us as the Learning & Development Co-ordinator. Aiden has recently completed his Masters of Organisational Psychology and has formerly worked at UQ and in local government.

A big thank you to the HR Team and legal staff in attendance for facilitating a great welcome!

ATSILS News

Service Update: Client visits to ATSILS offices

ATSILS Service UpdateFrom today ATSILS offices are once again open to client visits.
We encourage clients however to exercise caution and only attend our offices for necessary face-to-face appointments. Please contact your lawyer to confirm arrangements. https://www.atsils.org.au/contact/
Although face masks 😷 are no longer required in most settings, we strongly recommend our staff and visitors to our office, continue to wear one, especially in small meeting rooms and circumstances where you can’t socially distance.
Please note (as per QLD Health’s advice on 4/04/202), you still need to wear a mask in healthcare settings, disability and aged care facilities, prisons, on planes and when riding public transport.
We thank everyone for their ongoing cooperation as we continue to align our biosecurity measures with State Government Health advice and navigate the pandemic with staff, client and community safety at the centre of our responses.
ATSILS News

Triple A, Murri Country – International Women’s Day Event – Brisbane 11/3

Triple A, Murri Country are hosting International Women’s Day – First Nations, Morning Tea at Bunyapa Park, West End, Brisbane on 11th March from 6-10am.

This event is to create awareness for gender equality and to bring our First Nation women’s voice front and center, celebrating achievements, breaking barriers and creating awareness to break the bias. The Morning Tea will include, BBQ breakfast, weaving activity and two live outside broadcasts with Triple A Murri County Breakfast Show and Let’s Talk which will feature a panel of incredible First Nation women voices and special guest Jackie Huggins. Also, you will get to see some amazing talented female artists such as Rochelle Pitt perform live.

 

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ATSILS offices are temporarily closed to clients until further notice.

ATSILS offices are temporarily closed to clients until further notice. This decision has been made to help protect staff, clients and the broader community from the current wave of the Omicron COVID-19 variant that is fairly widespread across the state.

Please be assured our staff will still be providing legal assistance services to clients during this time via phone, ICT, and at court.

Stay in touch with your lawyer or regional office via phone or email.

A full list of office contacts can be found here: https://www.atsils.org.au/contact

For urgent legal matters call our toll-free statewide number:
1800 012 255.

Please wear a mask when visiting an ATSILS Office

ATSILS Mask RequirementsAs of 1am, 2 January, face masks are now required in all indoor settings except for in the home, if it’s unsafe or if doing strenuous exercise. 😷
All visitors are required to wear a mask when attending ATSILS offices until further notice. (Exceptions are when eating/drinking or there is a valid medical reason not to wear a mask).
Surgical masks will be available for visitors at ATSILS offices if required.
ATSILS News

COVID-19 – Service Delivery Response Measures – January 2022

To help slow the spread of COVID-19 our staff are instructed to use physical distancing and to deliver services via phone or ICT options wherever possible. Please phone your lawyer or our client services staff to confirm the best arrangements for legal appointments or attending court. A full list of office contacts is available here: https://www.atsils.org.au/contact/
 
Mask wearing will be required for staff, clients and visitors attending ATSILS offices at all times (exceptions are when eating/drinking or there is a medical reason not to wear a mask) until further notice. Surgical masks will be available for visitors at ATSILS offices if required.
 
If you are feeling unwell with COVID Symptoms or have been a close contact please don’t attend our offices in person, get tested, seek medical help and contact your lawyer for advice.
 
 
For more information on what to do if you have COVID-19 visit:
ATSILS News

Murri Christmas!

From all the team and directors at ATSILS, we wish you a very Murri Christmas and all the very best for the summer and the New Year.
To all the communities, families and partners we’ve had the pleasure of working with this year, we thank you for your continued support during another challenging year and look forward to working with you again in 2022 as we continue to advance and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Queensland.
Please note our offices will be closed for a short time over the Christmas period (from 20 Dec 2021 – 3rd Jan 2022) however, we will still have a team of legal practitioners and client services staff rostered on call during this time to provide legal help.
If you need legal assistance during this time call our free-call number: 1800 012 255.
Also, a member of our team in each region will be available on-call 24/7 for any urgent criminal matters.
Once again Merry Christmas, stay safe, and stay deadly!

MEDIA RELEASE: ATSILS calls for an independent body to investigate public complaints against police

Queensland needs an independent body to investigate complaints against police officers to ensure greater transparency and community confidence in law enforcement.

 

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) LTD (ATSILS) is appalled at the alleged behaviour of a police officer in Cunnamulla who was recently filmed threatening to ‘flog’ and ‘hurt’ a member of the community in the south west Queensland township.

ATSILS CEO Mr. Shane Duffy said, “If the investigation substantiates that the police officer indeed made the threats as alleged, then it would be difficult to justify any outcome other than the officer’s dismissal. The officer’s actions (if substantiated) not only undermine the Queensland Police Service’s (QPS) own documented ethical standards and the Queensland Public Service Code of Conduct, but also the local community’s expectations and confidence in law enforcement.

“Police officers are public servants who are entrusted with a range of powers and responsibilities critical to maintaining community safety. The community expects these powers and responsibilities will be exercised in line with the highest standards of professionalism given the level of training police receive and the important role they play in the community.”, Mr. Duffy said.

“If a citizen was to threaten a police officer in the same way this member of the public was threatened in this video, I would guarantee they would be charged. It should be without question that the same standards, in terms of criminal behaviour, should apply to the police as to the wider community”, Mr. Duffy said.

ATSILS understands an informal investigation into the incident is being undertaken by the QPS. Our communities have no confidence in the current process of police investigating public complaints against police internally. ATSILS has been calling for a legislative change to this process for decades in line with The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) Recommendation 226 which clearly outlines a way to deal with community confidence in relation to such matters.

Recommendation 226 states that in all jurisdictions the processes for dealing with complaints against police need to be urgently reviewed. The RCIADIC recommended that legislation should be based on the following principle amongst many others, specific to police – That complaints against police should be made to, be investigated by or on behalf of and adjudicated upon by a body or bodies totally independent of Police Services. An independent investigation benefits both the complainant and the police, it ensures greater transparency and thus trust in the police service in general.

Media Contact for Mr Shane Duffy:
Joshua.herd@atsils.org.au

 

Download Media Release [PDF]