Presentation on theme: "The Experience of Indigenous Victorians relating to birth registration and birth certificates Dr Paula Gerber."— Presentation transcript:
The Experience of Indigenous Victorians relating to birth registration and birth certificates Dr Paula Gerber
Background In Victoria, in 2008, 2.5% of all births were not registered. This equates to 1,841 children. It is not known what percentage of these are Indigenous children, but the majority of the unregistered births come from geographical regions with high Indigenous populations.
Background cont. In Australia, in 2005, of the 9,900 children born to Indigenous mothers, 13% (1,300 children) were not registered. Therefore, the problem of non-registration of Indigenous births appears likely to be even bigger in other states and territories.
Background cont. Two distinct, but related issues: 1.Birth was not registered so no certificate is available; and 2.Birth registered, but birth certificate not obtained at the time, and cannot now be obtained because of: (a)inability to satisfy ID requirements; and/or (b)inability to pay fees.
Issue brought to Centre’s attention in early 2009 by Thomas Kane, a Director of PLAN Australia. Centre has since that time been researching the applicable law, both international and domestic. Involvement of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
Work to Date Work to Date Publications: Orenstein, Joel ‘The Difficulties Faced by Aboriginal Victorians in Obtaining Identification’ (2008) 7(8) Indigenous Law Bulletin 14. Gerber, Paula ‘Making Visible the Problem of Invisibility’ (2009) 83(10) Law Institute Journal 52. Gerber, Paula ‘Making Indigenous Australians ‘Disappear’: Problems arising from our Birth Registration Systems’ (2009) 34(3) Alternative Law Journal 157.
This Symposium Castan Centre has brought together leading experts on this issue to discuss the problem and explore solutions: –Elaine Terrick, Indigenous woman born in Bairnsdale; –Joel Orenstain, Solicitor, Bairnsdale; –Glenn Bond, Program Effectiveness Manager, PLAN Australia; and –Frank Guivara, CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.
Future Tasks In 2010, the Castan Centre will be submitting an application for an ARC Linkage Grant to conduct empirical research to identify the extent of the problem across Australia, the underlying causes, and possible solutions. Industry partners to date include: –PLAN Australia; –Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service; and –Tangentyere Council (Alice Springs).
Future Tasks cont. Continue to raise awareness of this issue through publications in Australian and international journals. Undertake research about the application of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act (2006) to this problem. Lobby governments for appropriate legislative reform.
Castan Centre’s Aims To ensure that within a few years, there are laws and systems in place which ensure that: –all future births of Indigenous Australian are registered, and a birth certificate issued; –all historical births which were not registered, are registered, and a certificate issued; –all Indigenous Australians can readily obtain a copy of their birth certificate so that they can fully participate in society; and –There are remedies available if these rights are violated.
Elaine Terrick Elaine is an Indigenous artist from East Gippsland. She was born in Bairnsdale and has a connection to the Wurundjeri people through her father and to the Bidawal people on her mother's side. She is an accomplished basket weaver, and has exhibited extensively in Melbourne, Sydney, New Zealand and Fiji. Elaine won a Rural Indigenous Artist Award in 2007 from Regional Arts Victoria for sharing basket making and culture.