Issue Number 60 April 2010 - ISSN 2202-0705
Welcome to PWD’s E-Bulletin! This bulletin goes out regularly to our members and supporters and covers PWD news and events as well as other news from the disability sector. For people who do not have access to email, a printed version of the E-bulletin can be sent by post.
To be added to or removed from our mailing list, or to change your email address, please email email@example.com or contact PWD on one of the numbers listed at the end of this bulletin. If you would like to become a member of PWD or learn more about our membership options, contact PWD on firstname.lastname@example.org
NSW Ombudsman and the Disability Council of NSW invite you to attend
ph: (02) 9286 0900 or 1800 451 524
In Control group continues to meet at
more information contact Michael Bleasdale, Executive Director,
On 25 February 2010, the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues handed down its final report on its Inquiry into Substitute decision-making for people lacking capacity.
PWD provided a joint submission to the Inquiry with the NSW Mental Health Coordinating Council and provided evidence at the Public Hearing associated with the Inquiry. PWD has been raising issues in this area for over 10 years, and most recently in late 2008 and 2009 when plans for the merger of the Office of the Protective Commissioner and the Public Trustee were announced (see E-bulletin 51 March 2009).
Our submission argued strongly that in legislation, institutional
arrangements and practice in relation to supported decision making, NSW is in
the situation where it either positively breaches, is substantially
inconsistent with, or fails to fulfil,
We called for fundamental reforms in this area rather than tinkering at the edges of our existing laws and institutions, as the issues that should be considered are very much broader in scope than the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009. We argued that the key driver of this reform process ought to be the human rights of persons with disability to equality before the law, and to equal recognition as a person before the law.
We proposed that the Committee recommend a thorough review of the area by the NSW Law Reform Commission. A longer and more detailed review by the NSW Law Reform Commission would provide the opportunity for the Government to properly consult with and engage persons with disability in the law reform process.
PWD accepts that the Committee used its best endeavours to address the terms of reference, and it was always difficult to see how justice could be done to this area given the limited timeframe and resources available to the Committee to undertake the Inquiry. Consequently, the recommendations contained in the final report are not as broad in their scope as PWD argued was required.
Nevertheless, PWD is pleased that many of the Committee’s recommendations substantially or partially adopt some of PWD’s key recommendations. In particular, PWD is pleased that the Committee endorsed the principles contained in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and was guided by them. This is demonstrated in some of the key recommendations for legislative reform including:
NSW legislation, in which the issue of capacity in relation to decision-making is raised should explicitly require a presumption of capacity as the starting point; make explicit that such legislation supports the principle of assisted decision-making; and include statements that p person is not be presumed to lack capacity simply because they make a decision that others view as unwise.
The Guardianship Act 1987 should be amended to remove the phrase ‘because of disability’ from the definition of a ‘person in need of a guardian.
Legislation should be pursued to establish a single definition of ‘capacity’.
Transferring administration of the Guardianship Act 1987 from the Minister for Disability Services to the Attorney General should be considered by the NSW Government.
Other key recommendations for legislative reform are aimed at:
supporting existing informal guardian arrangements rather than appointing guardians;
ensuring regular review periods and triggers are established for guardianship and financial management orders;
allowing financial management orders to be made for the whole or part of the estate of a person;
ensuring that the Mental Health Review Tribunal is not required to automatically consider a person’s need for a financial management order.
PWD was pleased that the Committee recommended the need for legislation in relation to the use of restrictive practices within the context of guardianship, although PWD had also recommended the establishment of an independent, statutory office of Senior Practitioner to regulate the use of restrictive practices, as well amendments to criminal law to create specific offences related to unlawful or abusive use of restrictive practices.
PWD was also pleased that a key recommendation from the Committee was the development of a proposal for the establishment of an Office of the Public Advocate that could, among other activities, investigate service providers and government bodies and instigate legal action on behalf of people with disability and undertake systemic and individual advocacy.
In addition, the Committee recommended that consideration be given to the Public Guardian’s proposals for a community guardianship program and the authority to proactively investigate the need for guardianship where it has received a complaint. It also recommended legislative amendments to enable the Public Guardian to assist people lacking decision-making capacity without a guardianship order.
PWD’s submission is available on our website at www.pwd.org.au/submissions.html
For more information contact Therese Sands,
As previously reported in E-Bulletin,
with funding from the NSW Office for Women under the Domestic and Family
Violence Grants Program,
The key objectives of this project include increasing the knowledge of women with disability living in licensed boarding houses about how they can be safe from domestic violence and the types of service and supports available to them should they require support. To achieve this, PWD has established a partnership with the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, providing input and arranging guess speakers to present once a month for one of their groups supporting residents of licensed boarding houses. This month’s speaker will be an Official Community Visitor (OCV) who will provide information to the group about the OCV Scheme and how it can assist them to raise and resolve issues of concern within their licensed boarding house.
A second key objective is to equip the disability and domestic and family violence sector with skills and knowledge about prevention and best practice responses to domestic and family violence in licensed boarding houses. The most recent activities aimed at meeting this objective were two stakeholder forums were held during April. These forums sought direct input from disability service providers and domestic violence services involved in supporting residents of licensed boarding houses as to their understanding of indicators of domestic violence, how they respond to allegations and observations of domestic violence in these settings, what approaches work well and what are the challenges and barriers.
A final day for sector
input is being planned for the 3 June where the preliminary
findings of the project will be presented and sector stakeholders invited to
participate in developing a plan of action to address key issues identified.
For further information please contact
Come along and join other women
with disabilities to learn about gender and
Workshop places are limited so it is recommended that you register early. Past UNIFEM Australia gender analysis workshops have had up to 65 people on the wait list.
Registrations will close on Friday 21st May 2010.
More information please contact UNIFEM Australia on
(02) 6285-8254 or
People with Disability Australia has been working for a number of years with Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA), the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and more recently with the Physical Disability Council NSW (PDCN) and Council on the Ageing NSW (COTA) to have height adjustable examination beds made a mandatory requirement for accreditation under the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for general practices.
In 2004, research undertaken by Sheila King, from (former) Access for All Alliance, showed that less than 5% of GP surgeries had height adjustable examination beds. The research formed the basis of our campaign led by WWDA.
Our campaign achieved partial success in ensuring that height adjustable examination beds were included in the 3rd edition of the Standards, it was not made a mandatory requirement for accreditation of GPs.
However, we continued to campaign for height adjustable examination beds to be mandatory in the recent revision of the Standards and we are pleased to announce the RACGP has just released its draft 4th edition of the Standards which propose height adjustable examination beds do become mandatory. The draft is now subject to a three month period of consideration and feedback from the general practice profession and other stakeholders.
PWD congratulates all our partners and supporters in this campaign and welcomes this positive step for people with disability made by the RACGP.
For more information,
contact Therese Sands, Executive Director,
Periodic Review of
NGOs can provide information to the UN
Human Rights Council on
The working group has been established to coordinate the preparation of a joint 5‑page NGO Report. It is currently canvassing key issues for inclusion in the report. Please email us (see contact details below) if you are interested in being part of the NGO working group or would like to provide information on key issues. The working group is open to all civil society groups.
The Australian Government recently invited NGOs to submit initial views on information that they would like to see included in the Australian Government’s report by 16 April 2010. Click here for further information.
Click here for an overview of the UPR process and opportunities for NGO involvement.
For further information on the NGO working group, please contact:
Anna Cody, Kingsford Legal Centre,
information on PWD’s involvement in the Working Group please contact Therese
Sands, Executive Director,
In E-bulletin 57 and
58, we provided information on the Governance Support Program being delivered
by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Pacific Disability
Forum (PDF) to nine countries in the Pacific. The
Australia plays a role in delivering key aspects of the
The following quotes are
from participants who have attended the
‘Personally, I believe the most important thing is the personal values we place on people with disability and willingness to see them progress and respected in our communities as everyone else which enables us to strive on with little resources we have and be strategic and have great leadership in championing our program activities’. – Government representative
‘I haven’t spoken up before because I didn’t understand the concepts so I didn’t know how to join in the discussions. This is the same problem a lot of women with disability have as to why they don’t speak up. I appreciated the information that was shared because it helped me to understand a lot of things that before I didn’t understand. I am very happy. Thank you. Thank you’. – DPO representative
‘I now feel confident and comfortable in sharing my ideas and thoughts on issues that affect or may affect me. I now know that I have the same rights as any other person’. – DPO representative
For more information contact
I would like to thank you for your support in the recent Presidential election, I was a little surprised to hear I was the successful candidate. I was also very grateful for the trust you have had in me and I will endeavor to work hard and steer the ship through smooth and rough waters throughout 2010.
I believe we can all work
together as a team for the benefit of
As we expand our services far and wide both interstate and regionally, we must be prepared for the challenges ahead and demonstrate to the disability sector that we are a capable and forward thinking professional organisation.
a decision of the Queensland Family Court in March to sterilise a young girl
with disability for therapeutic reasons, there was a flurry of media
attention on the subject and a misquote in the local media on
court decision, which received media attention both in
Yet the position of disability advocates is wrongly characterised in William’s piece, as it generally is elsewhere, as staunchly against sterilisation as a point of principle, where upholding human rights is given precedent over the pressing need of the child to experience the “best quality of life”.
As a disability advocate, I disagree with this simplified view which argues advocacy is all about rights and conventions as a matter of principle, without consideration of the struggles and dilemmas of real people. There are clear reasons why we feel so passionately about human rights and believe them to be the strongest vehicle for achieving a quality of life for people with disability equal to that enjoyed by other members of Australian society.
After acquiring my disability, I was put under extreme pressure to undergo complete sterilisation. My parents and I fought against the ‘experts’ and won; however, I know many other people who did not have the support I had, who gave into the heavy societal pressure and agreed to undergo the procedure. Sadly in some cases the procedure created more problems, such as depression, challenging behaviour and even death.
PWD supports national, uniform legislation for the prohibition of non-therapeutic sterilisation of children, regardless of whether they have disability, and judicial authorisation of therapeutic sterilisation only where the procedure is necessary and appropriate in order to save the child’s life or to prevent serious damage to the child’s health.
Once legislation encompassing prohibition is passed, we believe that the judicial mechanism used to authorise therapeutic sterilisation will be able to provide the necessary safeguards against procedures being carried out for non-therapeutic purposes, such as menstrual management and contraception.”
is pleased to welcome to its staff Daphnée Cook. Daphnée’s
includes managing external communications to
Daphnee previously worked in a media and communications role with the
Indonesian Business Coalition on AIDS, a Jakarta-based HIV awareness, advocacy and education organisation. She has also worked
or volunteered with several prominent human rights organisations, including
Amnesty International Belgium, Oxfam
In her current role she encourages both staff and members to contact
her if they require further information on any
Daphnée can be contacted by email at email@example.com or at the office on (02) 9370 3100.
has an extensive experience in the development and delivery of professional
training across a wide range of disability areas,
To find out more about
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal is conducting its annual review into taxi fares where taxi drivers have argued passengers should be charged $8 before their journey even begins. With access to public transport still a problem for many people with disability, what do you think about this suggestion to increase the cost of taxi fares? Share your thoughts: www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=370395603656&topic=12919
a 'Disability Community' exist? -- what do you
4 May – Creating the life you want: People with disability,
families and services working together, The Epping Club,
May – NDS Accommodation and Social Participation Conference at Conrad Jupiters, Gold Coast
12 May – Disability
17 May – Introduction to
19-20 May – 2010 National Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Forum – Safe Homes, solid families – Registration and a draft program, together with accommodation options are available at the following link: www.noviolence.com.au/forum2010/registration.html
31 May -1 June – Communities in Control Conference 2010: Power Up! Who has it, how to get it & how communities can use it. – More information www.ourcommunity.com.au/cic2010
15 June – 16 June – “Strengthening Disability
Advocacy: Becoming a National Force”, 3rd National Disability Advocacy
Conference, Disability Advocacy Network of
Disability Australia Incorporated (
PWD was founded in 1981, the International Year of Disabled People, to provide people with disability with a voice of our own. We have a cross-disability focus and represent the interests of people with all kinds of disability.
As a non-profit,
non-government organisation we increasingly depends on membership fees,
public donations, bequests and fundraising activities to maintain our
commitment to improving the lives of people with disability.
Your tax deductible donation will
mean we can continue to maintain our services. If you are interested and
would like to support
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