Porter cuts off CDPP at the knees

The ability of the Commonwealth Prosecutor to tackle corporate crime – including any recommendations for prosecution that will arise from the Financial Services Royal Commission – has been called into doubt by significant cuts in last night’s budget.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

CLARE O’NEIL MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
MEMBER FOR HOTHAM

 

PORTER CUTS OFF CDPP AT THE KNEES

 

The ability of the Commonwealth Prosecutor to tackle corporate crime – including any recommendations for prosecution that will arise from the Financial Services Royal Commission – has been called into doubt by significant cuts in last night’s budget.

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Prosecutor has already been subject to major cuts under this government, resulting in a 23 per cent reduction in staff numbers between 2010-11 and 2016-17.

 

Now, under the guise of ‘efficiencies’, new Attorney-General Christian Porter will cut an extra $1.8 million from the Commonwealth Prosecutor over the next five years.

 

Corporate crime prosecutions are highly complex and often lengthy, against multibillion dollar corporations with huge in-house legal divisions and near limitless resources to fight in court, which means they are a drain on the resources for public prosecutors. How can Australians expect to see justice served in the wake of the Financial Services Royal Commission, if the Commonwealth Prosecutor cannot match the legal resources of the corporate criminals who are ripping Australians off?

 

The Commonwealth Prosecutor is not the only agency within Christian Porter’s department to see cuts – the Administrative Appeals Tribunal will also lose $3.7 million over five years. That’s despite the AAT forecasting a sizeable increase in its workload in last night’s budget papers. The AAT has come under sustained political attack from Peter Dutton, with not a word said in its defence by Mr Turnbull or the Attorney-General – despite the vast majority of its members being Liberal appointments.

 

The Human Rights Commission – another victim of political attack by this government – has had nearly half a million dollars taken from its budget, despite it already being cut to the bone over the last five coalition budgets.

 

Christian Porter must immediately explain how he expects key agencies in his portfolio to continue doing their vital work in the wake of these significant cuts, and demonstrate he is able to stand up to Peter Dutton in order to secure sufficient resources for his Department.

 

WEDNESDAY, 9 MAY 2018