On March 6, 2023, the case was won in the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Заголовок: On March 6, 2023, the case was won in the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Сведения: 2024-04-14 18:09:27

The case of J. M. v. Australia (decision on the inadmissibility of the communication). Opinions of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women dated March 6, 2023. Communication No. 123/2017.

In 2017, the author of the communication was assisted in preparing a complaint. Subsequently, the complaint was communicated to Australia.

As seen from the text of the Opinions, the author claimed that by depriving single parents of child benefits whose youngest child turns 8, that is, lowering the previous upper age limit of 16 years, as well as repealing transitional provisions aimed at protecting single parents who already received child benefits at the time of their implementation from the consequences of these reforms In practice, the State party has pursued policies that could be expected to have indirect discriminatory consequences, and that it has not changed this policy in accordance with its existing obligations to eliminate discrimination, even after the consequences of such indirect discrimination became apparent. The author claimed that the State party had violated her rights under the Convention (paragraphs 1, 3.2 of the Opinions).

The author stated that in 2005, a year before the birth of her second child, the Government carried out a reform under the motto: "From benefits to employment", in particular, it adopted the Law on Employment and Labor Relations (Employment of Recipients of Social Benefits and other measures), and in 2006 - subsequent amendments to it. As a result of the adoption of these amendments, from January 1, 2013, the maximum age of children whose parents are eligible for child benefit was lowered from 16 to 8 years if the child is raised by one parent, and to 6 years in the case of parents in a permanent relationship. The amendments included transitional provisions according to which those persons who had already received payments as of July 1, 2006, these changes did not apply, so they had to continue receiving single parent benefits until their youngest child turned 16. On May 31, 2012, the 2012 bill on amendments to the Law on Social Security (Fair Employment Incentives) was introduced in Parliament, which abolished the "grandfather" clause (that is, the exclusion clause) (paragraph 2.2 of the Opinions).

The Committee's legal position: the victim's status depends on whether the alleged violation affected the author directly and personally. The author of the complaint can claim to be a victim only if he has personally suffered from the act or omission of the State party in question, and no person can in the abstract, through actio popularis, challenge a law or practice that is considered to be contrary to the Convention (paragraph 9.3 of the Opinions).

The Committee's assessment of the factual circumstances of the case: the State party's claims that the author of the communication was not a victim within the meaning of article 2 of the Optional Protocol, since she was not part of the group of single parents receiving child benefit at the time of the adoption of the transitional provisions in 2006 and covered by the "grandfather" clause, as she submitted I applied and started receiving such an allowance only in 2014. The Committee noted that as a result, according to the State party, neither the original legislation nor the transitional provisions and their repeal were directly applicable to the author. In her reply, the author stated that all this time she had been a parent with children of an age that would have allowed her to receive this benefit if the law had not been changed, and therefore she was affected by this change. The Committee drew attention to the fact that, according to the author, she filed a complaint on behalf of all single mothers affected by the reforms, including those subject to the "grandfather clause" (paragraph 9.2 of the Opinions).

The Committee found that the author's first child was born in 2004. Later, namely in 2006 and 2009, she had two more children. In June 2006, her youngest child was two years old, therefore, his mother could be eligible for benefits and be subject to the "grandfather's" clause. At the time the new law came into force in January 2013, her youngest child was four years old. Therefore, if the author had received child support for single parents in 2006, she would have been a member of the group protected by the "grandfather clause" if the relevant provisions had not been repealed in January 2013. However, as seen from the information provided by both parties, the author did not receive child support for single parents in June 2006, which means she was not a member of this group. She did not receive this benefit in 2013, when changes in legislation were introduced and began to be applied, and began receiving it only in 2014. Thus, the author did not belong to the group protected by the "grandfather clause" and, therefore, had no reasonable grounds to believe that she would be able to count on benefits until her youngest child turned 16. Therefore, the Committee did not consider that the author was directly and personally affected by the impact of legislative changes as a result of the introduction and implementation of provisions on the abolition of the "grandfather clause". Since she was not entitled to child benefit for single parents in either 2006 or 2013 due to her employment status, the Committee concluded that the author did not have victim status due to her general allegations of damage caused by the reform of the social support system as such. The Committee also noted that the allegations concerning the impact of the reform on other single mothers were submitted without the consent of these individuals and that the author did not explain in any way why she decided to act on their behalf without such consent (paragraph 9.4 of the Opinions).

The Committee's conclusions: The present communication has been declared inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol, since the author did not have victim status and did not file an application on behalf of persons who had consented to such applications being filed on their behalf (paragraph 11 of the Opinions).



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