Women's rights

Women's rights

The work of Maurice Blackburn continues to be a critical voice in helping women access their rights and ensure everyone has fair and equitable access to justice regardless of gender. 

Continuing to champion women’s reproductive choices, advocating for changes of legislation and striking the right balance between freedom of expression and a woman’s right to privately and safely access healthcare.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is in the spotlight following high profile revelations of harassment and abuse, both in Australia and internationally. This is not a new issue and it affects everyone - no matter their age, gender, circumstance or the industry they work in.

We believe there is a real opportunity to improve the laws in Australia, in order to provide protection and safety in the workplace, and equal access to justice for all. We are calling for reforms that will both reduce the risk of sexual harassment and provide greater assistance to victims.

We believe five key areas of reform are needed.

Our work

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Women's reproductive choices in Victoria

A Victorian woman seeking IVF treatment using her own eggs and donor sperm took her case to court after she was refused the procedure because she did not have the consent of her estranged husband, from whom she is separated.

In a Federal Court hearing in Melbourne in September, we successfully argued that the Victorian law requiring her husband's consent was invalid as it was inconsistent with federal sex discrimination laws. We acted pro bono in this matter.

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Challenge to Victoria’s fertility clinic safe access zones

Clubb v. Edwards & Anor

In 2018, we acted pro bono for the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic in the High Court, after safe access laws, which protect the ability of women to safely access legal, reproductive healthcare, were challenged.

This case raises important questions about the Constitution and the rights of women. The Court is being asked to look at the safe access zone laws and determine whether they are an impermissible burden on the implied freedom of political communication under the Constitution.

The issue of how to balance the reproductive rights, safety and privacy of those seeking fertility control services against the activities of anti-abortionists is not new. Victoria’s safe access zone laws were introduced following a 2015 Supreme Court challenge by the East Melbourne Clinic.

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