POLITICS

Jacqui Lambie Has Another Spray At Government Cuts Affecting The Most Needy

The Tasmanian senator has been angered by funding cuts to the community legal centres.

27/03/2017 12:38 PM AEDT | Updated 27/03/2017 1:14 PM AEDT

CANBERRA -- Just days after an emotional and extremely personal speech to parliament about living on welfare and against budget cuts to welfare, independent Senator Jacqui Lambie has again spoken out for the needy, urging the Turnbull Government to "stop sledging people on welfare with a hammer".

The Tasmanian senator has taken part in a cross bench statement to request the government to reverse 30 percent funding cuts to Australia's community legal centres which are due to take effect from July 1.

Lambie has been so angered by the $34 million dollar saving cuts to community legal centres she has indicated she will join Nick Xenophon and not negotiate on the Turnbull Government's much wanted company tax cuts.

Labor, the Greens, Derryn Hinch and Lambie say the saving is a very small part of the overall federal budget, but will ensure thousands of some of the most vulnerable people in society will lose access to legal aid.

"I tell you now, those people keep getting poorer and poorer. You will have more people that will need to go to these services in the future," she told reporters in Canberra.

"And right now by cutting them... is just... it is an absolute disgrace by the government.

"Leave those people that are on welfare alone. Stop sledging them with a hammer. It is enough.

"And let them have the justice and the right to prove their cases in a court of law, if that is what it takes, for free of charge so they can sort their business out."

Following Senator Xenophon's threat to not negotiate on $48 billion worth of company tax cuts until the Federal Government fixes the power crisis, Lambie is wanting a focus on welfare and the needy over tax cuts for big business.

"They are already getting enough bloody tax cuts, I can assure you of that much," Lambie said.

"Six hundred of those 1,500 biggest profit makers out there are not paying any tax. To me that is not a fair system."

Lambie broke down in parliament last Wednesday during a moving speech about living on welfare.

She was speaking on the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill, which freezes -- for a year -- the indexation of Family Tax Benefit payments to low-income families in a bid to save $2.3 billion on welfare.

"It's not a choice for many of us to be on welfare. It is shameful and embarrassing and it is bloody tough," she told parliament. "But we do it, not because we want to but because circumstances put us there.

"For you to take more money off those people, you have no idea how bloody tough it is. Every little cent counts to those people."

She directly addressed senators on the government benches.

"What you're doing is shameful, and if you really realise the damage you're continually doing to that part of society, you would stop doing it," Lambie said last Wednesday.

And here, on Monday, she is doing it again.

"They are taking true justice off people who probably need it more than there average Australian out there," the Tasmanian senator said.

"We have a lucky country and they should have the right to have legal representation whether you have money or not.

"And that right should be given to any Australian out there."

The senator, who has a son who has fought a serious ice addiction, again got very personal.

"It is not the just the elderly you have go a lot of kids out there, you have got amphetamine issues out there," she said.

"These kids are going to need their day in court. They last thing we want them doing is ending up in the jail system where we know they are not going to be rehabilitated."

The budget cuts are from the 2014 budget and are designed to make up for budget shortfalls. The cuts were the subject of a three year fight over the ministerial diary of the Attorney General George Brandis where Labor wanted to see if the Attorney-General had met anyone in the community legal sector before agreeing to the budget measure.

After continued legal action, and according to his own diary, there is no evidence Brandis consulted with anyone working in the community legal sector before funding was slashed.

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