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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Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) | 1 August 1984

ON 1 AUGUST 1984, the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 commenced.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sda1984209/

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NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)http://www.ncat.nsw.gov.au/ncat/index.html commenced on 1 January 2014 pursuant to the NSW Civil and Administrative Act 2013 and Civil and Administrative Regulation 2013.

The NCAT takes over the functions of 22 former state tribunals, including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Tribunal
  • Aboriginal Land Councils Pecuniary Interest and Disciplinary Tribunal
  • Administrative Decisions Tribunal
  • Charity Referees
  • Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal
  • Dental Tribunal
  • Guardianship Tribunal
  • Chinese Medicine Tribunal
  • Chiropractic Tribunal
  • Medical Radiation Practice Tribunal
  • Medical Tribunal
  • Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal
  • Occupational Therapy Tribunal
  • Optometry Tribunal
  • Osteopathy Tribunal
  • Pharmacy Tribunal
  • Physiotherapy Tribunal
  • Podiatry Tribunal
  • Psychology Tribunal
  • Local Government Pecuniary Interest and Disciplinary Tribunal
  • Local Land Boards
  • Victims Compensation Tribunal (transferred into the ADT in June 2013)
  • Vocational Training Appeals Panel.

The NCAT is constituted by a President (a Supreme Court judge), Deputy Presidents of each of the four divisions, a Principal Registrars and Members including Principal Member, Senior Members and General Members.

The NCAT has four divisions:

  • Administrative and Equal Opportunity, which deals with review of administrative decisions of government agencies and resolution of discrimination matters.
  • Consumer and Commercial, which deals with a broad number of disputes about the supply of goods and services, including agent commissions and fees; agricultural tenancies; boarding houses; consumer claims; conveyancing costs; dividing fences; holiday parks (long-term occupancy); home building; motor vehicles; pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers; residential parks; retail leases; retirement villages; social housing; strata and community schemes; tenancy; travel compensation fund appeals.
  • Guardianship, which has jurisdiction over people who live in NSW or hold property or financial assets in NSW: to make guardianship orders for the appointment of a private or public guardian; make financial orders for a private or public financial manager; provide consent for medical or dental treatment; review enduring powers of attorney; review an enduring guardianship appointment; approve a clinical trial involving people with decision-making disabilities.
  • Occupational, including: administrative review of licensing decisions with respect to transport drivers/operators, security guards, builders, real estate agents, motor dealers and repairers, pawnbrokers and second hand dealers, stock and station agents, business agents, travel agents, valuers and licenced conveyancers; professional discipline of occupations governed by a statutory council, board, panel or authority.

The current President is Justice Robertson Wright SC and the Deputy-Presidents are Magistrate Nancy Hennessy, Mr M D Schyvens, Mr Stuart Westgarth, The Hon. Wayne Haylen QC and Judge Kevin O’Connor AM.

The principal registry is located at Level 9, John Maddison Tower, 86-90 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000, tel 1300 006 228.

The divisional registries are:

  • Administrative and Equal Opportunity: Level 10, John Maddison Tower, 86-90 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000.
  • Consumer and Commercial: Level 12, 175 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (also at Liverpool, Hurstville, Newcastle, Penrith, Tamworth and Wollongong).
  • Guardianship: Level 3, 2a Rowntree Street Balmain NSW 2041.
  • Occupational: Level 10, John Maddison Tower, 86-90 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

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Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd [2014] FCAFC 82

ON 15 JULY 2014, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia delivered Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd [2014] FCAFC 82 (15 July 2014).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCAFC/2014/82.html

On appeal, an employee of Oracle had her damages award increased from $18,000 to $130,000 with respect to sexual harassment she suffered from another employee.

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