Ms Leonie McFarlane - response from Mary Wooldridge MP

Thank you for your email.

Protecting and enhancing the rights of people with a disability are key priorities for the Government and for me as Minister.

In Ms McFarlane’s case a decision was made by her parents not to send their daughter to a conference in Adelaide. This decision was supported by the independent advocacy group VALID, who believed that the parents were acting in accordance with their daughter’s interests.

A request was then made for the Department of Human Services to overrule the wishes of Ms McFarlane’s family. After discussions with Ms McFarlane's parents, on the advice of VALID and considering all relevant information, my department decided not to intervene to overrule that decision.

Yesterday the Supreme Court validated the response of the department in not overturning the parents’ wishes.

I understand and share your concerns regarding the rights of Ms McFarlane and believe that while this case is undoubtedly difficult, decisions have been made in her best interests.

Thank you again for your correspondence.

Yours sincerely


Hon Mary Wooldridge MP
Minister for Community Services

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