Disability Rights: Electoral access

ACCESSIBILITY OF ELECTION PROCEDURES TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Updated 9 May 2008

Australian resources and developments

Overseas resources and developments

Commission electoral access inquiry 2000

See also the following documents previously issued in the Commission's inquiry in 2000:

Notice of inquiry into complaint under Disability Discrimination Act

The Australian Human Rights Commission has received a complaint under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 alleging discrimination by the State Electoral Commission in that the Local Government elections conducted in NSW in 1999 were not accessible, or not equally accessible to many people with disabilities.

The Disability Discrimination Act makes discrimination unlawful regarding access to services (section 24), except where providing non-discriminatory access would involve unjustifiable hardship.

The Disability Discrimination Act makes discrimination unlawful regarding access to premises, (section 23), except where providing such access would cause unjustifiable hardship. Further, the Disability Discrimination Act makes discrimination unlawful regarding the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs (section 29), and whilst this may not be relevant for the conduct of local government elections it may be relevant for the conduct of commonwealth elections and referenda.

Whilst this complaint relates to a NSW Local Government election (administered by the State Electoral Commission) the inquiry will also examine the conduct of NSW State Government elections (also administered by the State Electoral Commission) and Commonwealth elections (administered by the Australian Electoral Commission).

Call for submissions

The Acting Disability Discrimination Commissioner is seeking submissions to

  • assist her and the parties to the complaint to identify options for resolution of the complaint
  • assist her to determine whether the power to decline the complaint under section 71 should be exercised (on grounds including that the act complained of is not unlawful, has been adequately dealt with, or that another more appropriate remedy is reasonably available)
  • assist her to decide whether the subject matter is such that the inquiry should be terminated providing the parties with the opportunity to pursue the matter in the Federal Court.

In particular submissions are requested on issues affecting

  • Access to information about the electoral process;
  • Physical access to poling booths; and
  • Access to the voting process by people with vision, literacy and cognitive disabilities.

Submissions are requested by 28 February 2000, preferably by e-mail to disability@humanrights.gov.au . Submissions may also be made by mail to Disability Rights Unit, Australian Human Rights Commission, GPO Box 5218 Sydney 1042. The Commissioner intends to make submissions publicly available except where a specific request is made for material to remain confidential. In such a case, the request will be considered, and material will not be made publicly available without notification to the person/organisation making the request.

Submissions received