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DDA: Court decisions

Disability Disability Rights
Friday 14 December, 2012
















Court decisions

Updated: 18 January 2012

About this page

This page provides access to decisions by the Federal Court and the Federal Magistrates Court under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Links to decisions are to the Australasian Legal Information Institute, Austlii. Check their  list of recent decisions if you cannot find a Federal Court decision on the DDA here.

High Court decisions

Purvis v NSW (11 November 2003)
Education: Federal Court and Full Court decisions confirmed. Being treated less favourably than other students because of disruptive behaviour is not direct discrimination because of disability, if other students who behaved the same way would have been treated similarly.

X v The Commonwealth (2 December 1999)
Employment: Inherent requirements of a job are not restricted to performance of the physical tasks involved.

Federal Court decisions


Seidler v University of New South Wales [2011] FCA 1321 (18 November 2011)
Application for leave to appeal from Federal Magistrates Court refused with costs

Abela v State of Victoria 14 November 2011
Refusal of late application for adjournment

Seers v Australia Postal Corporation [2011] FCA 1163 (10 October 2011)
Refusal of leave to appeal - no evidence of less favourable treatment

Seidler v University of New South Wales [2011] FCA 1156 (6 October 2011)
Refusal of application for leave to appeal prior Federal Court judgment

Kiefel v State of Victoria [2011] FCA 1301 (27 September 2011)
Admissibility of evidence

Robinson v NSW Police Service [2011] FCA 1081 (23 September 2011)
Admissibility of evidence

Stephens-Sidebottom v State of Victoria (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) [2011] FCA 893 (8 August 2011)
Appointment of "tutor" for proceedings involving a child

McKenna-Reid v Rigo [2011] FCA 883 (5 August 2011)
Approval of settlement of complaint on behalf of a child

Approval of settlement of complaint on behalf of a child

Seidler v University of New South Wales [2011] FCA 830 (26 July 2011)
Construction of deed of release

Zoltaszek v Downer EDI Engineering Pty Ltd [2011] FCA 744 (1 July 2011)
Refusal of leave to appeal: no denial of fair hearing ; see also costs order

Reynolds v JP Morgan Administrative Services Australia Limited (No 2) [2011] FCA 489 (13 May 2011)
Confidentiality of settlement agreement and claim form

Turner v State of Victoria (Department of Human Services) [2011] FCA 459 (10 May 2011)
Ambit of complaint should be construed broadly - dismissal by Federal Magistrate set aside

Haraksin v Murrays Australia Ltd [2010] FCA 1133 (20 October 2010)
Capping of costs in public interest matter

Clack v Collins (No 1) [2010] FCA 513 (21 May 2010)
Procedure: security for costs

Gibbons v Commonwealth of Australia [2010] FCA 462 (5 May 2010)
Procedure: application for extension of time to appeal from Federal Magistrates Court; whether reasonably arguable case

Woodward v State of Victoria [2009] FCA 1122 (1 October 2009)
Education: approval of settlement

Croker v TAFE Commission [2009] FCA 1024 (14 September 2009)
Procedure: application for extension of time refused

Biasin v Hume City Council [2009] FCA 723 (30 June 2009)
Approval of settlement: access to vacation care

Rana v University of South Australia [2008] FCA 1903
Procedure: claim dismissed for abuse of process

Henry v ABC Developmental Learning Centres Pty Ltd [2008] FCA 1825
Procedure: Approval of settlement

Access for All Alliance v Hervey Bay CC (29 June 2007)
Costs awarded against association found not to have standing as person aggrieved - case pursued against weight of authority on standing; human rights cases not automatically subject to public interest exception to costs rule.

Access for All Alliance (Hervey Bay) Inc v Hervey Bay City Council (2 May 2007)
Incorporated association not a person aggrieved by alleged discrimination against some of its members.

Clarke v Oceania Judo Union (13 March 2007)
DDA applies where dicriminatory decision taken overseas but discrimination takes effect in Australia

New South Wales Department of Housing v Moskalev (15 March 2007)
No jurisdiction to make orders under DDA to correct administrative errors not involving unlawful dicrimination


Hamden v Commonwealth of Australia [2010] FCA 924 (27 August 2010)

Complant that anxiety disorder not accommodated rejected

Flanagan v Murdoch Community Services Inc [2010] FCA 647 (23 June 2010)
Restrictions on driving after incident not less favourable treatment because of disability

Stevenson v Murdoch Community Services Inc [2010] FCA 648 (23 June 2010)
Discrimination claims under DDA rejected; claim under Fair Work Act successful

Devers v Kindilan Society [2009] FCA 1392 (27 November 2009)
Discrimination in employment not found: no less favourable treatment because of disability; condition or requirements found in access to interpreting and equipment but not shown to be not reasonable

Varas v Fairfield City Council [2009] FCA 689
Requirement on an employee to attend a medical examination to determine fitness to perform duties found reasonable: appeal from finding that employer did not discriminate against employee on the ground of a disability imputed to the employee dismissed

Razumic v Brite Industries (30 June 2008)
Termination because of behavioral issues not direct discrimination

Qantas Airways Limited v Gama [2008] FCAFC 69
Finding of disability discrimination by FMC reversed; finding of racial discrimination confirmed

Rawcliffe v Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service & others (9 July 2007)
Indirect discrimination found in failure to accommodate disability in rostering

Forbes v Australian Federal Police (5 May 2004)
Employment discrimination claim rejected: less favourable treatment not because of disability but because employer did not believe that employee had disability claimed

Fetherston v Peninsula Health (23 April 2004)
A doctor whose vision had deteriorated seriously had his contract terminated when he refused to participate in an independent assessment of his ability to continue practising safely. His employment discrimination claim was rejected.

Daghlian v Australia Post (23 July 2003)
Employment discrimination found

Power v Aboriginal Hostels Ltd (12 December 2003)
Magistrates decision reversed: difficulty in performing inherent requirements is not inability to perform; matter remitted for rehearing

Commonwealth v Williams (20 December 2002)
Magistrates decision reversed: combat related duties exemption applied

Barghouti v Transfield (5 June 2002)
Constructive dismissal on grounds of disability found: earlier decision of Federal Magistrates Court reversed in part

Cosma v Qantas Airways
An employee unable to return to his pre-injury duties after a substantial rehabilitation period was found to be unable to perform the inherent requirements of the job, so no unlawful dicrimination had occurred in terminating his employment. Ability to perform inherent requirements was to be measured against the pre-injury job, not against work which had been given during the rehabilitation program: otherwise there would be a disincentive for employers to provide modified duties while attempting rehabilitation. See now Full Court decision confirming this decision

Court v Hamlyn-Harris
Employment discrimination: In argument over whether DDA jurisdiction applied to sole trader, complainant's counsel relied only on section 12(8) regarding interstate trade and commerce and (for whatever reason) did not argue other applicable provisions including those referring to the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention or to matters of international concern. Employer concerned held not to be engaged in interstate trade or commerce; jurisdiction on this basis refused. (8 January 2000)

Charles v Fuji Xerox (Federal Court, 30 October 2000)

David Raymond Catesby v Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission & Ors [1998] 1245 FCA (2 October 1998)
Decision to decline complaint upheld

Commonwealth of Australia v Nerilie Ann Humphries & Ors [1998] 1031 FCA (25 August 1998)
Commission decision finding discrimination in employment set aside; matter returned to Commission for determination

Jesus Benedicto Soares v Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission & Anor [1998] 444 FCA (30 April 1998)
Commission decision to dismiss complaint upheld

Commonwealth of Australia v The Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission & Anor [1998] 3 FCA (13 January 1998)
Commission finding of discrimination in X v Department of Defence set aside; matter remitted to Commission for further determination


Luck v University of Southern Queensland (No 4) [2011] FCA 433 (21 April 2011)
Complaint dismissed: applicant failing to appear for trial

Walker v State of Victoria [2011] FCA 258 (23 March 2011)
Discrimination in education not demonstrated: see also costs order

Zhang v University of Tasmania and others [2009 FCAFC 35]
Full court rejects appeal: disability imputed but no discrimination found in terminating postgraduate candature for disruptive behaviour . See also first instance decision: Zhang v University of Tasmania [2008] FCA 516

Huang v University of New South Wales [2008] FCA 1930
Appeal from FMC rejected: no evidence for claims of unlawful discrimination

Hurst v Education Queensland (28 July 2006)
Discrimination found where deaf child required to learn without Auslan interpreting

Ferguson v Department of Further Education (21 July 2005)
Complaint of discrimination through limitation on hours of interpreting assistance rejected: limitation below what was required by the student not established as question of fact

Hurst and Devlin v Education Queensland (15 April 2005)
Discrimination found in one case and not another where education provided to deaf child other than through Auslan interpreting. In the complaint which was upheld the Court found the child could not comply with a requriement to be able to learn without Auslan interpreting. In the complaint which was not upheld the Court found the child could cope without Auslan interpreting. But see now Full Court decision finding discrimination

Damiano v Wilkinson (21 November 2004)
Victimisation complaint dismissed: not victimisation to say would investigate possible legal recourse against unsuccessful complainant (Note: no such recourse is possible due to protection of complainants under DDA and HREOCA).

Rana v University of South Australia (5 March 2004)
Case remitted to Federal Magistrates Court for further heairng: discussion of principles regarding summary dismissal of case

Clarke v Catholic Education Office (8 October 2003)
Education discrinmination found in failure to provide Auslan interpreting: see now Full Court decision upholding finding of discrimination

Pembroke School v HREOC and Cowell (19 August 2002)
Application to re-open earlier decisions rejected

Sluggett v HREOC (9 August 2002)
HREOC decision upheld finding no unlawful discrimination. Accessible facilities and information on these were available, and respondent University was not responsible for complainant's failure to take advantage of them.

Purvis v State of NSW

Education: Federal Court decision confirmed by Full Court. Being treated less favourably than other students because of disruptive behaviour is not direct discrimination because of disability if other students who behaved the same way would have been treated similarly. Costs awarded against complainant. (24 April 2002).

State of NSW (Department of Education) v HREOC and Purvis

Education: HREOC finding of unlawful direct discrimination reversed by Federal Court. Exclusion because of behaviour was not direct discrimination because of disability. Complainant was not treated less favourably than other students who behaved the same way would have been treated. Possible indirect discrimination subject to reasonableness of behavioural requirements, but this had not been argued. Complaint returned to HREOC (note under the revised legislation complaint will have to be terminated rather than re-heard). Costs awarded against complainant. (29 August 2001)

Travers v State of NSW (Federal Court, 3 November 2000)
Court refuses application by education authority to have complaint summarily dismissed

Hills Grammar School v HREOC (18 May 2000)
Federal Court decision upholding Commission decision finding discrimination in education

A school v Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission & Anor [1998] 1437 FCA (11 November 1998)
Commission decision finding discrimination set aside; matter returned to Commission for determination

A School v Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission & Anor [1998] 1455 FCA (11 November 1998)
Identity of parties suppressed pending reconsideration of matter by Commission

A School v Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission & Anor [1998] 498 FCA (7 April 1998)
Direction not to publish respondent name in Commission decision pending review by court of decision

Access to premises

Forest v Queensland Health (22 June 2007)
Discrimination found in refusal of access for assistance dog; concern expressed regarding scope and uncertainty of s.9

But see now Full Court decision in Queensland Health v Forest (6 June 2008): no unlawful discrimination

Grovenor v Eldridge (Federal Court, 19 October 2000)
Guide dog user refused access to shop: court enforces HREOC decision, orders damages

Cooper v Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission [1999] FCA 180 (4 March 1999)
Commission decision finding council not liable for permitting discrimination set aside; matter returned to Commission for determination

Public transport

King v Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd (No 2) [2012] FCA 8 (13 January 2012)
Unjustifiable hardship found if airline required to provide wheelchair assistance for 100% of passengers

Killeen v Combined Communications Network Pty Ltd [2011] FCA 27 (31 January 2011)
Procedural decision

Vijayakumar v Qantas Airways Ltd [2009] FCA 1121 (2 October 2009)

Federal Magistrates Court decision upheld rejecting claim of unlawful discrimination


Rainsford v Victoria (19 July 2007)
Prisoner transport held not to be not a service : see now Full Court decision (11 March 2008): prisoner transport may be a service but no discrimination in this case on its facts.

Peter Holmes v Northern Territory of Australia [1998] 1001 FCA (11 August 1998)
Practice and procedure


QBE v Bassanelli (April 2004)
FMS decision finding discrimination upheld


De Alwis v Hair (January 2003)
Federal Court refused to hear same application as had already been refused by Federal Magistrates Court

Clubs and associations

Soulitopoulos v Latrobe University Liberal Club (25 October 2002)
Constitutional validity upheld of DDA applying to clubs: disability discrimination as subject of international concern

Phillips v Australian Girls Choir
Procedure: extension of time

Marsden v HREOC and Coffs Harbour and District Ex-Servicemen and Women's Memorial Club Ltd
Clubs complaint returned to HREOC for reconsideration (Federal Court, 15 November 2000)


Tate v Rafin and Wolongong District Cricket Club (Federal Court, 8 November 2000)
Complaint dismissed - exclusion from club found not to have been because of disability - no costs ordered

X v Commonwealth of Australia and HREOC (High Court, 2 December 1999)
Employment discrimination; inherent requirements: Full Federal Court decision confirmed, returning matter to Commission

Ranjit Shamsher J B Rana v Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission [1998] 288 FCA (31 March 1998)
Decision to decline complaint upheld

Ranjit Shamser J B Rana v Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission & Nepal Australia Friendship Association [1997] 416 FCA (22 May 1997)
Decision to decline complaint set aside; matter remitted to Commissioner for further inquiry.

Federal Magistrates Court decisions


Plunkett v Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd & Ors [2011] FMCA 1012
Amendment of claim permitted in part; application for transfer to Federal Court refused

Harley v Commonwealth of Australia [2011 FMCA 197]
Appointment of expert witness

Zoltaszek v Downer EDI Engineering Pty Ltd (No.3) [2011] FMCA 141
Costs:whether respondent entitled to costs on indemnity basis or on party/party basis

Matthews v Hargreaves (No.2) [2010] FMCA 933
Procedure: advice to unrepresented litigants . See also Matthews v Hargreaves [2010] FMCA 840 on applicatoni for extension of time

Reynolds v The Minister For Health & Anor (No.2) [2010] FMCA 910
Principles to be applied to application for adjournment

Seidler v University of New South Wales & Anor [2010] FMCA 887
Application to set aside Notice of Discontinuance refused

Reynolds v The Minister For Health & Anor [2010] FMCA 843
Application to be represented by a non-lawyer refused

Gama v Qantas Airways Pty Ltd [2010] FMCA 529
Litigation guardian appointed: restriction of capacity to institute unfounded proceedings

Vijayakumar v Qantas Airways Limited (No.2) [2009] FMCA 966
Principles on costs orders

Antic v Dimeo Holdings Pty Ltd & Anor [2009] FMCA 740
Assessment of costs

Ondrich v Kookaburra Park Eco-Village (No.2) [2009] FMCA 741
Assessment of costs

Mason & Anor v Methodist Ladies College [2009] FMCA 570
Transfer of proceedings to Federal Court

Lawrance v Cth of Aust & Ors and Lawrance v AAT & Ors [2008] FMCA 1340
Complaints dismised as abuse of process: costs ordered . See also Lawrance v Refugee Review Tribunal & Ors (No.1) and Lawrance v Watson & Ors [2008] FMCA 984

Harcourt v BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd & Ors (No.2) [2008] FMCA 1100
Interim injunction to restore previous employment role pending hearing, refused See also earlier application to maintain employment in Harcourt v BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd & Ors [2008] FMCA 860

Price v DET (NSW) [2008] FMCA 1018
Complaint procedure: Not necessary for complaint to specify which sections of Act relied on. Same matters subject of State complaint, application dismissed.

Sluggett v DIAC & Anor [2008] FMCA 735
Injunction to preserve status quo re employment refused

Manikantan v Centrelink [2008] FMCA 716
ADJR proceedings inappropriate as remedy for claims of discrimination in employment

Vijayakumar v Qantas Airways Limited [2008] FMCA 339
Appearance by Disability Discrimination Commissioner as amicus

Maslaukas v Queensland Nursing Council [2008] FMCA 216
Appearance by Disability Discrimination Commissioner as amicus

Mansell v Centrelink [2008] FMCA 127
Application refused to amend points of claim in part heard matter

N v C (22 December 2006)
No case to answer at conclusion of applicant's case

Oorloff v HREOC and others (7 December 2004)
Summary dismissal of complaint lacking in substance: no evidence of disability discrimination

Groundwater v Territory Insurance Office (2 April 2004)
Refusal of leave to be represented by non-legally qualified person; observations on substance of claim of inability to attend court or be medically examined due to claimed "multiple chemical sensitivity"


Maxworthy v Shaw [2010] FMCA 1014
Discrimination in employment found

Zoltaszek v Downer EDI Engineering Pty Ltd (No.2) [2010] FMCA 938
No discrimination found: complainant not employed by respondent

Vassallo v Jetswan Pty Ltd & Anor [2010] FMCA 708
Dismissal not shown to be because of disability

Cook v Oberon City Council [2010] FMCA 624
Dismissal not shown to be because of disability: issues re failure to disclose

Gibbons v Commonwealth of Australia & Ors [2010] FMCA 115
Dismissal of AFP officer with behavioural issues following head injury found not discriminatory

Clack v Command Recruitment Group Pty Ltd & Anor [2010] FMCA 42
Unfair dismissal not found to constitute disability discrimination

Hamden v Commonwealth of Australia (Centrelink) [2010] FMCA 36
Dismissal not a result of applicant's disability

Mansell v Centrelink (No.2) [2009] FMCA 640
Claims of discrimination and harassment rejected

Varas v Fairfield City Council [2008] FMCA 996
Dismissal while arguably unfair not found to be disability discrimination

Penhall-Jones v State of NSW [2008] FMCA 832
Discrimination by employer not found. Employer found to have taken reasonable steps to prevent discrimination by other employees.

L v Commonwealth of Australia & Ors [2008] FMCA 658
Claims of discrimination in employment and administration of programs and provision of services rejected

Yee v North Coast Area Health Service (13 November 2007)
Claim of discrimination on basis of disability and race dismissed, lacking in substance

Vickers v Ambulance Service of NSW (25 August 2006)
Discrimination on basis of diabetes found

Hollingdale v North Coast Area Health Service (20 January 2006)
Dismissal because of behaviour related to disability found not unlawful: person without disabilities would have been treated in same way

Drury v Andreco Hurll Refractory Services Pty Ltd (No.4) (30 August 2005)
Victimisation on basis of complaint found; $5000 damages awarded

Ware v OAMPS Insurance Brokers (29 July 2005)
Dismissal found discriminatory, $10,000 compensation ordered. Discussion of comparator issues.

Joyce v St George Bank (23 June 2005)
Claim dismissed: no evidence found that dismissal was because of disabilities. But note that leave to appeal against this decision has been granted.

Trindall v NSW Police Service (2 February 2005)
Direct and indirect discrimination found in imposition of restricted duties on officer with sickle cell trait.

Power v Aboriginal Hostels Ltd (6 August 2004)
Employment discrimination claim upheld

Gluyas v Commonwealth of Aust [2004] FMCA 224 (22 April 2004) Gluyas v Commonwealth of Australia (No.2) [2004] FMCA 359 (24 June 2004)

Discrimination claim dismissed: applicant with Asperger's syndrome failed to show that had been subjected to a requirement or condition which he could not comply with of performing ad hoc tasks outside of routine

Drury v Andreco-Hurll Refractory Services Pty Ltd (March 2004)
Summary dismissal of employment discrimination complaint: dismissal not related to disability

Dean v Cumberland Newspaper Group (18 November 2003)
Employment discrimination claim found barred by deed of release in workers compensation claim

McBride v State of Victoria (RTF file) (10 July 2003)
Employment discrimination found

Forbes v Commonwealth of Australia (26 June 2003)
Discrimination found in use of medical evidence: but see now Federal Court decision

Power v Aboriginal Hostels Ltd (3 March 2003)
Discrimination complaint rejected - but see Federal Court decision remitting for rehearing

Beck v Leichhardt Municipal Council
Interim injunction granted against dismissal pending hearing of discrimination case (6 December 2002)

Darlington v CASCO
Reduction of hours because of injury found discriminatory (5 September 2002)

Williams v Commonwealth of Australia (RTF file)
RAAF dismissal of man with insulin dependent diabetes found unlawful: deployability to combat duties not found to be an inherent requirement of the particular position (6 June 2002). But see now federal court decision reversing this decision

Humphries v Commonwealth (1 February 2002)
Application refused for review of HREOC decision (upholding discrimination complaint in part and rejecting complaint in part)

Barghouti v Transfield Services (FMC 15 November 2001)
Employment discrimination complaint dismissed: no evidence that unfavourable treatment was due to complainant's disability. But see now Federal Court decision

Saddi v Active Employment (FMC 14 September 2001)
Disability employment assistance agencies not found to have discriminated by refusing assistance to person whose disabilities were outside their eligibility criteria; case dismissed but no costs ordered

McKenzie v ACT Department of Urban Services (Federal Magistrates Court, 11 April 2001)
Discrimination in employment found; $39,000 compensation ordered. Note that HREOC had previously declined a complaint on the same matter as lacking in substance.

Low v ATO (Federal Magistrates Court, 23 October 2000)
Procedure: Complaint dismissed but no costs awarded

Ryan v Presbytery of Wide Bay Sunshine Coast
Complaint regarding discrimination in 1993 dismissed as out of time: no costs payable on condition related proceedings withdrawn


Huang v University of New South Wales & Ors [2008] FMCA 11
Discrimination and victimisation complaints dismissed (see also Federal Cort decision upholding FMC decision)

N v C (22 December 2006)
Complaint dismissed. Child care centre found to be an education provider but no evidence that treatment had been discriminatory

Rana v Flinders University of SA (24 November 2005)
Complaint dismissed: exclusion because of disruptive behaviour not shown to be discriminatory because not shown to be result of disability

Hinchcliffe v University of Sydney
Discrimination claim rejected: information formats provided inconvenient but not inaccessible; most requirements which were communicated to university were met.

Rana v University of South Australia (RTF file) (21 November 2003)
Discrimination claim rejected: applicant for admission as student did not meet reasonable course entry requirements. But see also Federal Court decision

Croker v State of NSW & Anor 19 May 2003
Education complaint dismissed

Minns v State of NSW
Claim of direct and indirect discrimination by student excluded from school for inappropriate behaviours rejected (FMC 28 June 2002)

Chung v University of Sydney 20 September 2001
Education discrimination complaint dismissed

Travers v State of NSW (23 March 2001)
Discrimination in education

Access to premises

King & Ors v Gosewisch & Ors [2008] FMCA 1221
Delay in moving meeting to accessible room not found to amount to unlawful discrimination

Webb v Child Support Agency
5 October 2007

Access for All Alliance Inc v Hervey Bay City Council
1 December 2004
Accessibility by mobility impaired persons to Community Centre and various picnic tables located on the foreshore - whether a viewing platform should be created at Community Centre which is infrequently used for entertainment, whether a suitable ramp should be provided - whether all picnic tables should allow access to mobility impaired persons - whether disabled toilets should have internal hand basins - unlawful discrimination found in respect of toilets with external hand basins - Council did not establish unjustifiable hardship.

Sheehan v Tin Can Bay Country Club
Discrimination found in requiring assistance dog to be tethered given evidence of training and disposition of dog
(FMC 9 May) 2002

Ball v Morgan and another
Remedy refused on public policy grounds for lack of access to illegal brothel
FMC 21 December 2001

Haar v Maldon Nominees (23 October 2000)
Access to premises for guide dog user


Douglas v Department of Land and Housing [2011] FMCA 1028
Public housing not meeting expectations of client not sufficient to establish discrimination; see also

Department of Land and Housing v Douglas [2011] FMCA 75
Application for summary dismissal refused

Vijayakumar v Qantas Airways Limited [2009] FMCA 736
Extraterritorial application of DDA considered

Wood v Calvary Hospital (16 June 2005)
No discrimination in refusal of home nursing service since service unavailable to anyone due to staff shortage

Thorn v Serco (14 January 2005)
Claim of discrimination rejected: refusal of service not because of disability

Rainsford v State of Victoria No. 2 (19 October 2004)
Decision to confine in restrictive conditions within prison not a "service" under the DDA: decisions made purely in exercise of State statutory function distinuished from educational and rehabilitation services; discussion of "requirement or condition"

Gable v Vero Workers Compensation Ltd (3 March 2004)
No discrimination found in complaint by worker dissatisfied with workers compensation service. Discussion of principles of summary dismissal of complaints.

Rainsford v State of Victoria
The Chief Federal Magistrate granted an extension of time in order to allow the complainant to file an application in the FMS in relation to one of his allegations concerning contraventions of the DDA. Leave was also given to join Group 4 Correctional Services (the operators of the Port Phillip Prison) as a respondent.

Soreng v Victorian State Director of Public Housing
Procedure: Summary dismissal of an application disclosing no reasonable cause of action (17 July 2002)

Meyer v Holt (27 June 2002)
Claim against court officers dismissed

Rainsford v Group 4 Correctional Services (FMC 13 February 2002)
Injunction refused: to grant an injunction requiring release of prisoner from cell would pre-empt role of parole authorities and was not necessary to enable consideration of discrimination complaint regarding back injury.

Rainsford v State of Victoria (FMC 28 November 2001)
Magistrate McInnis found that when the enforcement provisions of the DDA were moved into the HREOC Act they ceased to apply against the State Crown, because that is what HREOC Act section 6 provides. Note: Amendments to remedy what was clearly a drafting oversight in the last set of amendments have now taken effect under the HREOC Amendment Act 2002.

Maghiar v State of W.A. (FMC 11 October 2001)
Allegations of racial and disability discrimination dismissed


Ball v Silver top Taxi Service (15 December 2004)
Less timely service for users of wheelchair accessible taxis: no direct discrimination found by booking service; no indirect discrimination by booking service since no unreasonable condition or requirement imposed by booking service

Vance v State Rail Authority of NSW
Train carriage doors closing while passenger attempting to board found negligent rather than discriminatory; rail operator found to have exrcised sufficient due diligence to prevent discrimination by employees (FMC 3 May 2004)


Bassanelli v QBE Insurance
Refusal of travel insurance on grounds of preexisting disability found unlawful

Xiros v Fortis Life Insurance (Federal Magistrates Court, 6 April 2001)
Magistrate Driver found there to be disability discrimination in an HIV exclusion in insurance, but was satisfied that there was a reasonable basis for exclusion which fell within the exemption of the Act s.46(2). The application was therefore dismissed. No order was made as to costs due mainly to the public interest element of the matter which has some precedent value and implications on similiar insurance policies.


O'Connor v Ross and another
Accommodation of people with disabilities a matter of international concern (23 October 2002)


De Alwis v Hair, Australian Cricket Board & Others

The complainant (a cricket spectator) sought an interim injunction to restrain Mr Hair from umpiring in matches to be played by Sri Lanka in January 2003 alleging that Mr Hair would discriminate against the Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan on the basis of Mr Muralitharan's disability, said to be “flexion deformity”, which caused the bowler’s arm to be bent. The Chief Federal Magistrate dismissed the application on the basis that there was no arguable case. The case was subsequently brought before the Federal Court for an appeal and an application for interim injunction The Court ordered that the notice of appeal/urgent application be struck out.

Arrah v P & O Catering Services P/L (RTF) (22 February 2002)
Failure to obtain or be considered for promotion found not due to disability.

Administration of Commonwealth laws and programs

Lawrance v Commonwealth of Australia and others (FMC 30 November 2007)
Multiple claims of dicrimination dismissed, with costs, as lacking in substance

Vintila v Attorney-General (FMC 1 November 2001)
Mr Vintila disagreed with costings in the Regulation Impact Statement for draft Disability Standards for accessible public transport and complained that the approach taken amounted to discrimination in provision of services and in administration of a Commonwealth law or program. Magistrate McInnis dismissed the complaint with costs as misconceived.

Oberoi v HREOC (Federal Magistrates Court 7 June 2001)
Claim upheld of discrimination by Inquiry Commissioner in assessing credibility of complainant. Various other claims dismissed.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The AAT does not have jurisdiction to review decisions to decline or terminate complaints. See the AAT decision in Clayton Croker and Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission AAT No 12701 [1998] AATA 160 (18 February 1998) confirming this.