Terms of Reference

The committee wishes to clarify that this inquiry has not been asked to consider any proposal for involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities.

The terms of reference:
  1. The involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia, including:
    1. the types of sterilisation practices that are used, including treatments that prevent menstruation or reproduction, and exclusion or limitation of access to sexual health, contraceptive or family planning services;
    2. the prevalence of these sterilisation practices and how they are recorded across different state and territory jurisdictions;
    3. the different legal, regulatory and policy frameworks and practices across the Commonwealth, states and territories, and action to date on the harmonisation of regimes;
    4. whether current legal, regulatory and policy frameworks provide adequate:
      1. steps to determine the wishes of a person with a disability,
      2. steps to determine an individual's capacity to provide free and informed consent,
      3. steps to ensure independent representation in applications for sterilisation procedures where the subject of the application is deemed unable to provide free and informed consent, and
      4. application of a 'best interest test' as it relates to sterilisation and reproductive rights;
    5. the impacts of sterilisation of people with disabilities;
    6. Australia's compliance with its international obligations as they apply to sterilisation of people with disabilities;
    7. the factors that lead to sterilisation procedures being sought by others for people with disabilities, including:
      1. the availability and effectiveness of services and programs to support people with disabilities in managing their reproductive and sexual health needs, and whether there are measures in place to ensure that these are available on a non-discriminatory basis,
      2. the availability and effectiveness of educational resources for medical practitioners, guardians, carers and people with a disability around the consequences of sterilisation, and
      3. medical practitioners, guardians and carers' knowledge of and access to services and programs to support people with disabilities in managing their reproductive and sexual health needs; and
    8. any other related matters.
  2. Current practices and policies relating to the involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people, including:
    1. sexual health and reproductive issues; and
    2. the impacts on intersex people.
    Additional context (not part of the formal terms of reference)

    In 2011, the Report of the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review for Australia identified issues around Australia's human rights protections for people with disabilities. This is relevant to the current inquiry. See in particular recommendation 86.39 (page 15) of the Working Group Report.

    Easy English guide

    For an Easy English guide to the inquiry, please access either the PDF version or the text-only Word version.

    Committee Secretariat contact:

    Committee Secretary
    Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
    PO Box 6100
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
    Fax: +61 2 6277 5829
    community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au

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    About this inquiry

    The committee wishes to clarify that this inquiry has not been asked to consider any proposal for involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities.

    Past Public Hearings

    11 Dec 2012: Melbourne, VIC
    27 Mar 2013: Sydney, NSW
    28 Mar 2013: Sydney, NSW

    more...

    Inquiry Status

    Second Report Tabled

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