do we have guardianship in Australia?

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Britney Spears’ father agreed resign from your guardianship You may be wondering how the equivalent laws work in Australia.

Australia does not have “conservatorships”, but rather trusteeship and financial management laws for each state and territory.

Traditionally, there were three legal options for appointing other people to manage your money and business.

One is through the short Supreme, which is a very formal process beyond the reach of many. A second option is to pass state-based mental health laws for temporary financial management while a person is held in a mental health facility.

A third option is to go through the supervising state courts. The exact operation varies from state to state, so check out the links below for more details:

Guardianship courts

In most cases, financial management and guardianship laws relate to people who have been found to be unable to manage their affairs or who need a financial manager or guardian due to a disability.

This can include someone with a mental health problem, developmental disability, dementia, or disability that affects their ability to communicate decisions.

Since the 1980s, state courts (made up of people with different skills) have been able to make decisions to appoint someone as CFO and someone as personal guardian.

In fgeneral, finance directors (sometimes called “administrators”) take care of the financial aspect while a personal tutor make decisions about their health and lifestyle.

Guardians can also play a major role in decisions about “restrictive practices”Which normally involved limitations on a person’s ability to move around (sometimes through physical or chemical constraints). Guardians may also have the power to make decisions about “special medical treatment” – for example, whether to put a person on long-term treatment. contraception.

To have a CFO or guardian appointed, a person must apply to the court or guardianship court. The requester may be a government employee, family member, service provider, or health care professional who feels that the person in question lacks the capacity to make their own decisions.



Read more: Freeing Britney requires reconsidering how society views decision-making capacity


Two trends in Australia

Australia has recently seen two trends when it comes to money managers and tutors.

First, we see more people with dementia appoint financial directors. It can be to prevent financial abuse or it can be a form of financial abuse in itself.

The second trend concerns the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The creation of NDIS resulted in people who previously had their affairs run informally by friends or family now need to appoint CFOs and tutors. For some, this has resulted in less control over their affairs.

When a person asks a court to appoint a chief financial officer, the court to consider The factors such as

  • how capable is the person with a disability and what might be in their best interest

  • what family support they have around them

  • what could happen if a CFO was not appointed.

Have a decision reviewed

In most jurisdictions, trusteeship and financial management orders are subject to routine reviews. By law, the welfare and interests of the person whose affairs are being managed are supposed to be granted primary consideration. In practice, however, once a CFO or personal guardian is appointed, it is can be difficult to have them removed.

It can also be difficult to prove that circumstances have changed and that the CFO or guardian is no longer needed. This is especially the case if the person continues to struggle with poverty and / or social isolation, or does not have access to social networks or resources to help them make decisions, or does not have access to social media or resources to help them make decisions. had the opportunity to develop their skills.

According to Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS):

Many people who contact the IDRS about financial management orders find the restrictions very distressing, frustrating, and life-threatening. They are often limited in the social activities they can enjoy. Additionally, most are frustrated and angry with their financial managers (especially when the financial manager is a government agency).



Read more: Britney Spears’ tutelage hints at an older history of controlling female artists


Substituted decision making versus assisted decision making

Financial management and guardianship laws involve what experts in this field call “substituted decision-making”, because someone else is making decisions on behalf of a person with a disability.

The United Nations body and Australian Disabled People’s Organizations have long advocated for the abolition of substituted decision-making laws and the introduction of supported decision-making systems based on the “will and preferences” of a person with a disability. The latter aims to provide access to support and resources for people to make their own decisions about their finances and other aspects of their lives.

The United Nations Committee overseeing the Disability Convention in 2019 expressed worry Australia has made little progress in abolishing substituted decision-making regimes and replacing them with supported decision-making systems. The same UN committee also urged the Australian government to eliminate restrictive practices.

Only Victoria amended its laws to formally incorporate the United Nations Convention into its Guardianship and Administration Act, 2019 and even this law still employs substituted decision-making mechanisms in many cases.

the Royal Commission on Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Persons with Disabilities is currently studying guardianship and financial management laws, so the discussion regarding guardianship laws and the role of the will and preferences of people with disabilities will not go away.


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