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Tuesday, 7 December 1976
Page: 3360

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectively showeth.

We, the undersigned, including the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights, believe that the Mental Health Ordinance proposed for the Australian Capital Territory contains various clauses which should be reviewed immediately. These clauses include:

Definitions of mental disorder/illness which are vague enough to allow a psychiatrist to exert arbitrary judgment on who is or is not actually ill. The section dealing with control of standards of treatment could be employed to stop faith healers, naturopaths, lay counsellors and others who play a very important part in society. The section authorising police and ambulance officers to enter any dwelling to seize any person is a breach of privacy. The section dealing with compulsory treatment of minors should be amended as it makes it simple for a psychiatrist to commit or treat minors without parental consent.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that this Ordinance be reviewed and submissions be requested from interested groups so as to ensure that the Ordinance when finally drafted does protect the interests of psychiatric patients.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Haslem.

Petition received.

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