April 9th 2014
The High Court has delivered a landmark judgement that recognises sexual categories other than male or female, representing a victory for growing numbers of gender diverse people across Australia.
The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) assisted A Gender Agenda (AGA), an organisation representing gender diverse and intersex people, to provide expert advice to the High Court giving its insights into how current laws impact gender diverse and intersex people on a day to day basis.
Other countries with a third recognised gender include India, Nepal and Germany.
The HRLC’s Director of Advocacy & Strategic Litigation, Anna Brown, says the decision was of profound importance, given that identity documents such as birth certificates were an important foundation for ensuring equal recognition before the law for gender diverse and intersex people.
“Sex and gender diverse people face problems every day accessing services and facilities that most Australians can use without thinking twice. It’s essential that our legal systems accurately reflect and accommodate the reality of sex and gender diversity that exists in our society, and the High Court has taken an enormous leap today in achieving that goal,” says Ms Brown.
The High Court has upheld the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal that allowed Norrie, an androgynous person, to be recognised as a sex other than male or female. Norrie had originally sought to be identified as “non-specific” rather than “male” or “female” on identity documents and sought to be identified as “intersex” at the High Court hearing.
The Executive Director Gender Agenda, Samuel Rutherford, says the High Court’s decision recognising that “transgender” and “intersex” were not appropriate categories was a relief for gender diverse and intersex people. AGA’s submission to the court represented a broader group of people affected by this case, whose needs and interests may not have otherwise been raised in the arguments put before the Court.
“This a fantastic decision for gender diverse and intersex people, who simply want to be recognised for who they are. The High Court has also recognised it would be inappropriate for a third category to be labelled intersex, which means they understood that intersex people often identify as male or female,” says Mr Rutherford.
“Transgender, gender diverse and intersex people face high levels of stigma, social exclusion and discrimination. To have the Highest Court in our land say the law recognises the reality of our existence is not only important in a practical way, but paves the way for achieving equality and freedom from discrimination,” says Mr Rutherford.
The case comes as Australian parliaments are starting to reform their laws to better accommodate differences of sex and gender. This including includes the introduction of federal discrimination protections on the basis of “gender identity” and “intersex status” and, most recently, legislation that would reform ACT births, deaths and marriages laws to allow people to be registered as a sex other than male or female.
A Gender Agenda was assisted on a pro bono basis by Kris Walker and Liz Bennett of Counsel, the Human Rights Law Centre and law firm Allens. Norrie was represented on a pro bono basis by DLA Piper in the High Court appeal as well as the earlier stages of the litigation.
For more information on the ruling, visit http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2014/11.html
By Daniel Borghouts
February 14, 2014
The Governor General, Her Excellency the
Honourable Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO announced on the 13 February 2014 that
Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird, MG has been awarded the Victoria Cross for
“I am immensely proud of Corporal Baird’s unwavering courage and determination
in the face of grave danger but I am equally saddened by his selfless sacrifice
and the Baird family’s loss,” General Hurley said.
“Corporal Baird was a true modern day warrior who set a standard that every
soldier aspires to achieve. Modest yet inspirational, he led from the front and
“Corporal Baird represents the best of the ANZAC spirit. Australians should
never forget the sacrifice he made in our nation’s name. ”
Corporal Baird is survived by his parents, brother and partner.
Source: Gen. David Hurley, Defence Department
The Walk Home 2014
The Walk Home 2014 (TWH2014) team are finalising vehicle and gear hire for a planned 300 km march along the Thai-Burma Railway in Thailand on ANZAC Day 2014. The march will raise awareness and money for Soldier On, a charity that looks after the welfare of mentally and physically injured Australian soldiers.
The group consists of 10 to 12 serving or returned Australian Defence Force personnel, state and federal police and civilians from throughout Australia, with Perth members meeting monthly for group training. The team will start at Ban Pong in Thailand and work their way North West to Sangkhla Buri along the ruins of the Thai-Burma Railway (nicknamed “The Death Railway” due to prisoners of war being used as forced labour in its construction during World War Two). The trip is estimated to take 12 days.
TWH2014 is the brainchild of Bryan R., who came up with the idea of the march whilst deployed to Africa earlier this year with the Federal Government.
“On a brief period of leave, I had arranged to meet up with my wife in Thailand where we visited the museum at Kanchanaburi. This is where I had the initial idea to walk it (the Thai-Burma Railway) and my wife suggested that I do it for charity. On my return to South Sudan, my wife informed me about the new charity called Soldier On. On ANZAC Day this year, after a couple of brown lemonades, I managed to convince some mates to join me.”
So far, TWH2014 have managed to raise over $26,000 with corporate sponsorships and other events and the 8/12 Royal Australian Artillery regiment has planned to raise around $3000 through weekly sporting activities.One hundred percent of donations will go to Soldier On, who work to get the best care for wounded Australian soldiers to help with their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. In Afghanistan, 261 Australians from all three branches of the ADF have been wounded with 8% of all personnel deployed to Afghanistan returning with psychological problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
For more information, visit http://thewalkhome.com.au/
To donate to Soldier On
click on this link: http://www.soldieron.org.au/
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Saturday 1 – Monday 31 March 2014
Various venues in and around Greater Shepparton
Full program details: www.sheppartonfestival.org.au
The SheppARTon Festival is thrilled to announce its program of arts, events and celebrations taking place across March. Teaming up with La Trobe University, and in partnership with Greater Shepparton City Council, the SheppARTon Festival highlights a culturally rich arts community. Working around the theme of Unique Events in Unusual Places across the Goulburn Valley, the festival program is sure to delight every member of the family.
The Shepparton Festival is now in its 18th year and is the largest cultural event on the Shepparton calendar.
In 2014, the SheppARTon Festival extends from 11 days to the full 31 days of March. The SheppARTon Festival features a rich program of music, theatre, literature, dance and film, celebrating the unique community of Greater Shepparton and its myriad stories. Shepparton, the heart of Victoria’s ‘food bowl’, is a vibrant, culturally diverse, modern city with a strong indigenous population and a long history of immigration. With the threatened SPC Ardmona potential closure, the festival offers strong support to a community in uncertain times.
The festival kicks off with a weekend of family-friendly activities. Emerge at Twilight (1 March) is a spectacular multicultural celebration around Victoria Park Lake including a global marketplace, music and dance from local indigenous, refugee and emerging communities and culminating in a fireworks display over the lake. Polyglot Dream Weavers (1 & 2 March) present Tangled, an interactive and engaging installation combining weaving, music and storytelling; and the Victorian Concert Orchestra present an afternoon of music in the sun, basking in Shepparton’s beautiful natural surrounds for Orchestra in the Dookie Hills (2 March).
The long weekend starts early with purveyors of fine Australian jazz, The Andrea Keller Jazz Quartet, bringing their spirited style to Shepparton (7 March). The Festival then hosts celebrated opera, concert and stage performer David Hobson at Opera in the Orchard (8 March), in the gorgeous setting of the Findon House Gardens. Distinguished memoir writer Patti Miller discusses her latest novel, The Mind of a Thief, at the Literary Lunch (9 March), and the Dream Voices Gala (9 March) brings together the specially directed, multicultural Dream Voices choir with festival guest Deborah Cheetham, renowned Aboriginal Australian soprano, actor, playwright and proud Yorta Yorta woman. Deborah Cheetham and rising local star Tenielle McKenzie have composed songs especially for the event, in an evening not to be missed.
With hundred of entries already receieved, the 15th Shepparton Shorts Short Film Festival (14 March) promises to delight, with a prize awarded for the best film on the theme Dream Voices. Finally, closing out the festival in an exciting spectacle comes The Community Dragon Boat Regatta (30 March), with festivities including a Blessing of Boats ceremony and a traditional race across Victoria Park Lake!
Coinciding with the SheppARTon Festival, visual art lovers can enjoy a number of exhibitions on display at the Shepparton Art Museum including Melbourne-based artist Nick Selenitsch’s Play, featuring interactive installations and sculptures that draw upon sport, games and modern abstractions, and Sydney-based painter Mitch Cairns’ sweeping mural using bold cartoon forms and deadpan humour for The Drawing Wall #14. More information can be found at SAM’s website: www.sheppartonartmuseum.com.au/
The festival offers experiences for the local and visitor alike, SheppARTon Festival Artistic Director John Head said, “The 2014 SheppARTon program has something for everyone, whether you want to relax in our exquisite natural surroundings, enjoy quality arts and community performances, or treat yourself to some of the country’s finest produce. We have workshops in singing, sculpture, yarnbombing, bellydancing, creative mentorship and photography, with a host of talented artists and performers coming to Shepparton to share their skills, knowledge and passion. It is an opportunity to come together to celebrate the things that make Shepparton such a unique place.”
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