The Approach of the Victorian Charter to Women's Rights

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This chapter analyses the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) (the Charter) from a woman's rights perspective, beginning with a consideration of the existing Charter rights. While a number of rights such as the right to privacy and the right to protection of families and children are significant for women, Part I focuses on the right to be free from discrimination/right to equality. When discussing existing Charter rights, the chapter considers Castles v Secretary to the Department of Justice, the main Charter-related Supreme Court decision to date which is of specific and direct relevance to women's rights. In this decision, Emerton J held that a prisoner's right to dignity includes her right to medical treatment (in this case vitro fertilization) in certain circumstances. After considering the existing Charter rights, Part II considers those rights that are missing from the Charter, specifically economic and social rights. From a gendered perspective, this omission is problematic, given the disproportionate impact of violations of economic and social rights on women. Finally, any analysis of the Charter from a women's rights perspective would be lacking without a discussion of s 48 of the Charter, given the centrality of reproductive rights to women's rights. Thus the chapter concludes with a discussion of s 48 and its relationship with the Abortion law Reform Act 2008 (Vic).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian Charters of Rights A Decade On
EditorsMatthew Groves, Colin Campbell
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherFederation Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781760021375
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Hman rights
  • law and legislation
  • Australia
  • Civil rights
  • equality before the law
  • charters
  • social justice

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