Discrimination, HIV & autopsy revisited

Following an earlier consideration of discrimination in the context of autopsy, similar issues arose in

ANU v State of NSW (Sydney Local Health District).

The NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal heard (but refused) an application for summary dismissal of a complaint said to be based on contravention of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (Cth).

The Sydney Local Health District told Ms ANU that, in accordance with its policy, her son’s body would not be reconstructed following a post mortem examination. Ms ANU’s son was HIV positive when he died. The policy was said to be necessary for health and safety reasons. Ms ANU complained of discrimination on the ground of her son’s disability.

Similar issues as to the status of the complainant and whether the deceased was a person arose here, as had been considered in an earlier decision of the NSW Court of Appeal .

This complaint was not summarily dismissed as it gave rise to several difficult issues of statutory construction, each of which (it was said) should be carefully considered in the context of hearing and determining the complaint as a whole. That determination should follow at a later date.

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