Let disabled people tell their stories! (update guardianship and administration law)

Did you know that disabled people cant legally talk to the media about their guardianship or administration hearings and experiences?  They have to go to VCAT to ask permission.  If they are unhappy with what happened to them at VCAT, they have to go and ask VCAT for permission to talk to the media about that.

Uli’s Story -This is where it started

“I worked with a film maker over 5 years to make a documentary about my life. It is called Life is a Battlefield. In my documentary I talked about going to VCAT for a hearing about my administration order. It was shown on SBS on International Day for people with Disability.

“But then SBS took my documentary off their website after they got a letter from VCAT explaining that the law says I can’t talk about VCAT proceedings without permission. So I was silenced and could not tell my story because of a law I didn’t even know existed.”

“I went to VCAT to ask them to give permission. I got an urgent hearing, and the Deputy President said my comments about going to VCAT could be published.

Join the Campaign

Uli wants to change the law so that people with disability have the equal right to speak about their experiences just like everyone else.  You can support the campaign in the following ways:

  1. Individuals can sign the petition on change.org (link below)
  2. Organisations can endorse the letter below by sending their logo to: Naomi Anderson by email [email protected]

Attorney General of Victoria
The Hon. Jaclyn Symes MLC
Level 26, 121 Exhibition Street
MELBOURNE  Vic  3000
By email: [email protected],gov.au.

Dear Attorney-General

Gag laws and the VCAT Act

We refer to the ABC report on guardianship and administration which aired on 19 June 2023, specifically the legislation which prevents people with disability from speaking about their experiences.

We refer also to the position statement of the Public Advocate of 6 April 2023 calling for the Victorian government to amend the legislation which prevents people speaking out.

We note that this issue was initially raised with your office on 1 February 2022 by advocate Uli Cartwright whose documentary Life is a Battlefield was removed from the SBS website due to these gag provisions.

The undersigned organisations also call for the Victorian government to amend the Schedule 1 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 so that Victorians with a disability have equal rights to speak about their life and experience.

Yours sincerely

Naomi Anderson
Legal Practice Manager
Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc

Uli Kaplan
Monday 29th May, 2023
Sunday 30th July, 2023

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