Blind and deaf people deserve their democratic rights

Today Abigail secured a commitment from the Upper House to implement the necessary reforms to allow blind and Deaf people to exercise their democratic right to serve on jury duty. 

Abigail said: I move:

(1) That this House affirms Article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states that all disabled people have the right to effectively and fully participate in all political and public life, and in the conduct of public affairs, and that deaf people should be awarded their right to sign language interpreters in all areas of life.

(2) That this House notes all of the recommendations in the NSW Law Reform Commission's report entitled Report 114 Blind or Deaf Jurors, published in September 2006, including the recommendations that:

(a) the Jury Act 1977 (NSW) should be amended to reflect that people who are blind or deaf should be qualified to serve on juries and not prevented from doing so on the basis of that physical disability alone;

(b) interpreters and stenographers allowed by the trial judge to assist the deaf or blind juror should swear an oath to faithfully interpret or transcribe the proceedings or jury deliberations; and

(c) all relevant personnel, including judicial officers and court staff, should be given the opportunity to participate in professional awareness activities to facilitate the inclusion of blind or deaf persons as jurors.

(3) That this House calls on the Government to implement in full the recommendations of the NSW Law Reform Commission, to allow blind or deaf people to exercise their democratic right to perform jury duty by having an interpreter or stenographer with them to interpret or transcribe proceedings or jury deliberations.

The motion was passed successfully! 


Read the full transcript in Hansard here.


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