Ireland Referendum – Vote Yes!

On 25 May, Irish voters are to vote on the option of repealing the 8th amendment of the Irish Constitution, which effectively banned abortion by giving foetuses the same legal rights as pregnant women. Background from the BBC here

Ireland’s Catholicism has had a large role in the historical development of strong anti-choice, anti-abortion laws, but the Church has been curiously absent from current debates. That doesn’t mean that the current debate in the lead up to the referendum has been respectful and fact based, not at all. Amnesty International Ireland has come in for strong criticism in particular from anti-choice campaigners for the ridiculous complaints that Amnesty received donations from the Soros International fund and is thus “a US abortion organisation meddling in Irish affairs.” (Never mind that Amnesty was founded in London, and has been campaigning on a range of human rights for over fifty years, and has only recently changed its internal policies on how it handles abortion rights to be a more rights-based perspective!) Disclaimer: I am an active member of Amnesty International Australia, and a former board director here. I do not bother to hide my sympathies for my Irish colleagues, nor my disdain for the utter garbage being thrown at them by opponents. 

Fake news is aplenty in the debates, with the anti-choice movement funded by donors within Ireland and overseas flooding Irish media and online with bots and misinformation presented as objective facts. This is extremely disappointing.

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Personality disorders and the self-fulfilling prophecy – why staff attitudes really matter

Some great observations and research here.

Dan Warrender's Mental Health Blogma

The room sighs as yet another person diagnosed with a personality disorder is admitted to the busy hospital ward, as a health service with limited resources and a skeleton staff (yet ever increasing expectations from an insatiable society) wheezes through another day. Unbeknownst to the staff team however, their sigh has already set the tone for what is to follow. The expectations are often of a ‘difficult’ patient, perhaps influenced by the memory of previous challenging experiences, or the unwelcome diagnostic baggage and stigma which accompanies people with these controversial labels. Negative attitudes have commonly seen people described as manipulative and attention seeking, with emotional dysregulation and impulsivity often unhelpfully dismissed as “just behaviour”. There is no doubt that working with people with diagnoses of personality disorders in significant distress can be extremely challenging, with self-harm and suicidality a common and understandable precursor to staff distress, as they undertake the…

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Mental health in the legal profession

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of suicide, mental illness and discrimination against disabilities.

Last week, the Melbourne legal fraternity lost one of the good guys, Magistrate Stephen Myall. I didn’t know him personally, but many people that I know professionally did and have spoke about him with a great deal of warmth, respect and professional affection.

This job is hard. No matter what area of law that you practice, you will encounter a huge amount of stress and things that can trigger mental health issues. Many of us will enter the legal profession already dealing with mental health issues, whether we know it or not at the time. There is a certain type of high achieving, driven, stubborn type who study law and go on to be lawyers, the “Type A” personality… a stereotype which all to often masks deeper issues that may or may not be conducive to long term career sustainability.

I freely admit that I manage a mental health disability, two actually. As much as I enjoy being a lawyer, there are many reasons why I am looking for a job outside of legal practice now, and most of those reasons are to do with endemic discrimination across the legal sector for lawyers with mental health disabilities. Even though it’s common, and even though law societies and other professional bodies recommend better ways of supporting staff with mental health issues… the taint of having a mental health issue within our profession leads many of us to cover up the problem and plough on unassisted, rather than risk derision or potential career harm.

That’s a massive problem.

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Reblog – Gender equity in rural areas

By Caitlin McInnis The 62nd session of Commission on the Status of Women will take place in March 2018. The Australian government will be present at the session and recently took submissions from experts and the public as to what it should prioritise and advocate for when attending the session. The Castan Centre’s Acting Director […]

via Rural women and girls deserve gender equality too — Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

Euphemisms for Disability are Infantalizing

This is a great blog piece.


Labels Image Description: a hand places disability label cards onto illustrations of children. Still taken from this youtube video

I have written about the importance of language as it relates to disability before. To oppose the idea that clear language should be avoided in favour of what can best be described as pretending difference doesn’t exist to opposing the replacement of clear language with euphemisms.

Euphemisms are rampant in disability discourse. There is this misguided idea that disability must be softened and made palatable.

This comes from general assumptions that the word disabled is negative and shouldn’t be used to describe people and from watching words that relate to disability be adopted by society as insults.

The best example of this can be seen in the evolution of language around intellectual disability. In the early, to mid-20th-century people began to realize that language utilized to describe intellectual disability had been…

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Letter to my (often feminist) friends who are concerned about those in “prostitution” and think that criminalizing those who pay for sex really can’t be such a bad idea.

This is good.

Feminist Ire

Guest post by Dr Susann Huschke

I write this with you in mind, those friends of mine who are generally open-minded, critical, progressive leftists. We agree on a lot of things – like, that capitalism is a problem, that Theresa May needs to go, and of course Trump, too, and that gender equality continues to be worth fighting for.

But when it comes to “prostitution” – that is, the selling and buying of sexual services – you are not so sure about my views. You have heard me argue that criminalizing those who pay for sex is a bad idea, but perhaps I have not done a good enough job explaining why that is. I believe it would be fair to sum up your position as follows: “We want to live in a society where women do not sell sex to men. And to get there, we think that it…

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Marriage equality – vote yes, vote now!

Reblogged from the Castan Centre.

This survey is a ridiculous waste of money and an offensively bad way to determine issues of policy, but the question is simple:

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex marriage?

That’s it. It is not about free speech or parenting or religious freedom or boys wearing dresses (which is actually not a bad thing…)



It’s just about whether Australian law should be equal and non-discriminatory. That’s all.

So vote yes, post your vote as soon as you get it, and remember this whole exercise in unleashing discrimination, bigotry and public expenditure wastefulness when we next have to vote for the government…


By Caitlin McInnis The marriage equality survey is now under way, and lots of Australians are showing their support for equal love. If you want to stay inspired on a daily basis, there are many things you can do, including following us on Facebook and Twitter, where we’ll be making the “YES” case every day. […]

via 5 things you need to know about voting in the marriage equality survey — Castan Centre for Human Rights Law