Letters: Equal Justice Requires a Disability List



Dear Coalition Members

I am sending you  my paper which details my concerns regarding the proposed  legislation for a  Mental Health List  in the Magistrates Court .   

 Calling this a Mental Health List is a misnomer .  It captures intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, autism spectrum disorder and neurological impairment unrelated to mental illness.   The proposed legislation contradicts the well-established and recognised modern day separation of mental health and disability in legislation, in ten year plans, and in administration

 For decades there has been lobbying to separate  intellectual disability from mental illness, this separation has been accepted in Victoria for well over 20 years – and this mingling of mental health and intellectual disability is to repeat the mistakes of the past.   

 There is a body of evidence from interstate programs to demonstrate that Victorias proposed Mental Health List is not informed by the experience of those other jurisdictions. The experience in those jurisdictions does not support a Mental Health List which extends beyond mental illness to intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, neurological impairment.

This List as it stands is socially and morally indefensible.   To ensure there is equal justice without discrimination for persons living with a mental illness and those living with intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, a neurological impairment, two separate and distinct lists are required. One would be a Mental Health List, the other would be a Disability List.   

 I  am  asking that you consider the concerns I raise, and contact the Attorney General Rob Hulls and the shadow Attorney General Robert Clark and your local lower and upper house members requesting that the government defer debate on this Bill pending (a) the tabling of legislation for an amended Mental Health List and (b) commitment to the tabling no later than end May 2010 legislation for a Disability List. 



If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.    If you are able to circulate this urging other people to take action, that would be appreciated. 

Margaret Ryan 

North Caulfield
Vic. 3161
email: mryan136@optusnet.com.au

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