The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is currently working on an Inquiry into whether Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity and what, if any, changes could be made to address this inequality.
ALRC President, Professor Rosalind Croucher is leading the Inquiry and Graeme Innes AM, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, is assisting as a part-time ALRC Commissioner throughout the Inquiry. The Inquiry will run for 12 months, until August 2014.
The purpose of the Inquiry is to ensure that Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks are responsive to the needs of people with disability and to advance, promote and respect their rights. The Terms of Reference specifically ask the ALRC to have particular regard for a number of groups within the disability community including people in rural, remote and regional areas.
The ALRC has undertaken a range of preliminary consultations with stakeholders, including the National Rural Health Alliance. In November, the ALRC released an Issues Paper which asks over 40 questions about how the law might treat people with disability unfairly in areas including: the NDIS, employment, health, social security, banking, insurance, restrictive practices, access to justice, aged care, and anti-discrimination. The Issues Paper is the first consultation document of this Inquiry, intended to help frame discussion and encourage public consultation at an early stage. We invite individuals and organisations to contribute to the law reform process by making submissions in response to the Issues Paper by Monday 20 January 2014.
For more information about the Inquiry, to download a copy of the Issues Paper (including in Easy English), or to subscribe to the e-newsletter, visit the ALRC website or contact the ALRC on (02) 8238 6300.