Thursday, 24 April 2008

Disabled 'deserve secret ballot'

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission says it is time for New South Wales to introduce better voting methods for people with disabilities.

The call comes after the New South Wales Electoral Commission was found to have discriminated against a blind man, who was not able to cast a secret ballot in braille during the 2004 local government elections.

Darren Fittler asked for an application in braille four weeks before the Randwick City Council election so he could vote in secret.

But the commission failed to provide him with one.

The New South Wales Administrative Decisions' Tribunal ordered the state electoral commission to pay $5,000 for hurt and humiliation suffered.

The Electoral Commission says it will offer ballot papers in braille in the future.

But Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes says New South Wales lags way behind other states and territories in providing equality.

"This is a real wake-up call for the New South Wales Electoral Commission," he said.

"Many of us have been drawing it to their attention for some years. It really sends a signal that it's about time that they let everyone have a secret ballot and not just the majority of people in New South Wales."

Quote: The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission may be right here but everyone knows that they are just another stooge and arm of government and will only push what the government will allow them to. In other words if it is too hard for them and the government won't allow it then they wouldn't take any legal action to providing equality. So I particlularly don't think there is any need whatsoever to give them any credit, at all, for the likes of this article, opposed to all the other inequality and human rights abuses, right under their noses, that they have overlooked, especially during the John Howard government. For the likes of Graeme Innes all human rights abuse and inequality is a real wake up call for Australia. Not just when someone else has to take the action. Quote: "Many of us have been drawing it to their attention for some years."

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