Category Archives: Human Rights

Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) | 25 May 1995

ON THIS DAY in 1995, the Northern Territory Parliament passed the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/rottia294

The Act, which took effect on 1 July 1996, legalised euthanasia in the Northern Territory until the Commonwealth Parliament subsequently enacted the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997.

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Children – Intellectual disability – Sterilisation – Family Law

Department of Health & Community Services v JWB & SMB (“Marion’s Case”) [1992] HCA 15; (1992) 175 CLR 218 (6 May 1992).

“Children – Intellectual disability – Sterilization – Power of parents to consent – Assault – Parens patriae jurisdiction of court – Criminal Code Act 1983 (N.T.), ss 1, 26, 181, 187 188.

Family Law (Cth) – Family Court – Jurisdiction – Welfare – Parens patriae – Intellectually disabled child – Sterilization – Power of Court to authorize operation – Effect of authorization on criminal law – Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), ss. 63, 64, 64E – Criminal Code Act 1983 (N.T.), ss 1, 26, 181, 187, 188.”

The court held that the parents of a 14 year old mentally retarded girl from the Northern Territory could not lawfully authorize a sterilization procedure on their child without an order of a court.

The court held that the Family Court of Australia has the jurisdiction  to authorize the carrying out of a sterilization procedure but could not approve consent being given to the parents unless the court authorizes the procedure.

Whilst parents or guardians may authorize or consent to the carrying out of a therapeutic treatment of their child, they have no such power regarding non-therapeutic treatment.

Sterilization of an intellectuallly disabled minor falls outside of the ordinary scope of parenal powers if the procedure is not obviously necessary.

Children have the right to personal integrity under domestic and international law. Procedures, such as sterilization, are “invasive, irreversible and major surgery”. It is up to the court, not the parents or guardians, to decide the appropriate circumstances that are in the best interests of the child.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1992/15.html

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Dred Scott v Sandford 60 US 393 (1857) | 6 March 1857

ON THIS DAY IN 1857, the US Supreme Court delivered Dred Scott v Sandford 60 US 393 (1857).

https://supreme.justia.com/us/60/393/case.html

The US Supreme Court ruled that slaves African ancestry were not citizens under the US Constitution.

The decision caused outrage and was a significant event leading up to the election of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

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Criminal Records Amendment (Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill 2014

ON 23 OCTOBER 2014, the NSW Parliament passed the Criminal Records Amendment (Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill 2014.

The legislation amends the Criminal Records Act 1991 (NSW) by providing a process for extinguishing convictions for certain consensual homosexual conduct that was illegal in New South Wales up until 1984. The process also covers conduct that ceased to be an offence when the unequal age of consent laws were changed in 2003.

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Electoral Act 1893 (NZ) | 19 September 1893

ON 19 SEPTEMBER 1893, New Zealand women were the first in the world to be granted the right to vote with the enactment of the Electoral Act 1893 (57 VICT 1893 No 18).

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Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (UK) | 28 August 1833

ON 28 AUGUST 1833, the UK Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Will4/3-4/73/contents

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Vergara v Ewin [2014] FCAFC 100

ON 12 AUGUST 2014, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia delivered Vergara v Ewin [2014] FCAFC 100 (12 August 2014).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCAFC/2014/100.html

The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia dismissed an appeal against last year’s Federal Court decision in Ewin v Vergara (No 3) [2013] FCA 1311 (5 December 2013) in which Mrs Ewin was awarded damages for sexual harassment in the amount of $476,163 together with interest.

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