My assistance DOGS provided for under the  Disability Discrimination Act 1992 [DDA] [go to HAIG REPORT home frames]

new     My writing disability due to hyper-extended right thumb: a partial loss of a bodily function, as per definition of Disability in DDA.

I am disabled.

"You talk'in to me???"

These are my two assistance dogs, PYOSIK and POOKH.

Both Sections 6 and 9 [as below] apply to me and my assitance dogs. 


"Section 6  Indirect disability discrimination

                   For the purposes of this Act, a person (discriminator) discriminates against another person (aggrieved person) on the ground of a disability of the aggrieved person if the discriminator requires the aggrieved person [ie me - Russell Mathews] to comply with a requirement or condition [ie to not take my dogs with me inside many premises]:
                     (a)  with which a substantially higher proportion of persons without the disability comply or are able to comply; and
                     (b)  which is not reasonable having regard to the circumstances of the case; and
                     (c)  with which the aggrieved person does not or is not able to comply.


"Section 9  Disability discrimination—guide dogs, hearing assistance dogs and trained animals

             (1)  For the purposes of this Act, a person (discriminator) discriminates against a person with:
                     (a)  a visual disability; or
                     (b)  a hearing disability; or
                     (c)  any other disability;

(aggrieved person) if the discriminator treats the aggrieved person less favourably because of the fact that the aggrieved person possesses, or is accompanied by:
                     (d)  a guide dog; or
                     (e)  a dog trained to assist the aggrieved person in activities where hearing is required, or because of any matter related to that fact; or
                      (f)  any other animal trained to assist the aggrieved person to alleviate the effect of the disability, or because of any matter related to that fact;
whether or not it is the discriminator’s practice to treat less favourably any person who possesses, or is accompanied by, a dog or any other animal.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not affect the liability of a person with a disability for damage to property caused by a dog or other animal trained to assist the person to alleviate the effect of the disability or because of any matter related to that fact."

As an experienced full time teacher and full time University Tutor and fully trained as a Lawyer, with many years experience in Civil and Criminal courts, and currently a PhD student in Law, I will interpret the legal significance of these sections.   Section 6 is a general section applying to the matter of "Indirect discrimination".   Section 9 [and also sections 7 and 8] are particular examples of  the application of Section 6, where the PROOF REQUIREMENTS are particularily specified and so simplified.  

For example, if Section 9 was abolished, then a blind person with a guide dog would be permitted to take his guide dog with him per Section 6, but would need to prove the conditions (a), (b), and (c) of Section 6, as well as being disabled, but with Section 9 in existence, all that is necesary is to prove that he has a visual disability and is accompanied by a guide dog.   That is the point of Section 9 [and of sections 7 and 8 too]: to SIMPLIFY THE PROOF REQUIREMENTS.

In fact, that blind person with the guide dog will qualify under both Sections 6 and 9, AS DO I.

Unfortunately the public sector "administrators"  such as at the those at the Brisbane City Council [BCC], Queensland Rail [QR] [I know about perjurying public sector parasites at QR, as I used to work there - prior to my having any university degrees] and the TransLink division of QR, and The University of Queensland, fancy themselves as "you beaut lawyers" and really mess up the interpretion to suit themselves with the response, "sue us if you disagree with us", which means one has to effectively apply through the CORRUPT HUMAN RIGHTS [AND EQUAL OFFORTUNITY (??)] COMMISSION  [HREOC]  which is still corrupt and has been for decades.

For instance, they try to say, DDA applies to only "trained" dogs,  because Section 9 specifies trained dogs.  They are referring to a principle of "Statutory Interpretation" which states that if the legislation refers to a subsection of a group and does not refer to the rest of the group [ie untrained dogs] then the remainder of that group ["untrained dogs"] are excluded.  What these simpiltons fail to understand is that "untrained dogs" are excluded from only section 9; the SIMPLIFIED PROOF REQUIEMENTS.  They are NOT  EXCLUDED  from the DDA

However, MY dogs ARE TRAINED to meet the requirements of the DDA.  The act does not state that they have to be trained in any special way or by any special person or type of person.  In fact, cases have been decided favourably for the disabled person with assistance dogs, that the training can be by the actual disabled person, provided that the animal has been "trained to assist the aggrieved person to alleviate the effect of the disability" .  In my case, as per the Medical Certificate/Report from Dr Moyle, a Psychiatrist, so a specialist, the benefit to me is that my dogs give me my "only positive interactions".  My training of them, is a large part of that interaction.  All the time I am interacting with them I am training them. 

However, in my case, qualification can be gained also under section 6 [in fact, mathematically, those instances that quailify under section 9, (AND sections 7 or 8) are a subset of those cases that qualify under section 6: ie all instances which qualify under sections 7, 8 or 9 will, without exception, also qualify under Section 6].  Ss (a) and (c) of S6 are self explanatory.  For S6(b), the phrase, "assists the aggrieved person to alleviate the effect of the disability" of  S9(f) is indicative of what is "reasonable".   However, that the animal is "trained" is not a requirement of  section 6.  Hence, if exception is taken as to the "training" of my dogs, my dogs qualify as assistance dogs under section 6.  So, regardless of whether my dogs are classed as trained, or  not,  it is without doubt, that they assist me to alleviate the effect of my disability.  

It has been noted that I have TWO assistance dogs.   Translink of Queensland Rail and The University of Queensland, have tried to take issue with that and state, that ONLY ONE could ever be countenanced.   [Just hassling me over my assist dogs is illegal indirect discrimination per the DDA.]

However, the legislation does not state that only one dog is ever possible to accompany me.  Some may resort to dependance upon "common sense", but the legislation is not really silent on this.   The "common sense" consideration would be met by reference to Section 11 DDA, Unjustifiable hardship.


"Section 11   - Unjustifiable hardship

                   For the purposes of this Act, in determining what constitutes unjustifiable hardship, all relevant circumstances of the particular case are to be taken into account including:
                     (a)  the nature of the benefit or detriment likely to accrue or be suffered by any persons concerned; and
                     (b)  the effect of the disability of a person concerned; and
                     (c)  the financial circumstances and the estimated amount of expenditure required to be made by the person claiming unjustifiable hardship; and
                     (d)  in the case of the provision of services, or the making available of facilities—an action plan given to the Commission under section 64."

My larger dog is called Pyosik and the smaller is called Pookh or Pushok.   Pyosik is a Parson Russell Terrier of which breed, the Jack Russell is a dwarf version and of similar nature. Pyos weighs 11.8kg.  Pookh is a Maltese Poodle cross [a Moodle or a Maltoodle] and weighs 4.3kg.  together they weigh 16.1kg.  That is far lighter than a Labrador.  This is part of the relevant circumstances of my particular case.   As well, it is a fact that I can carry them both in the one arm: Pyos on my hip and Pookh resting his chest on the palm of my hand.  The fact that I can do that when many people could not, [ie too heavy] is a further relevant circumstance of my particular case.  In fact, Unjustifiable hardship, as suggested by (c) above, usually [as decided by case law] can be relied upon only in relations to the expenditure for construction of access ramps.   I guess it could be conceived that if I had too many assist dogs with me at the one time, it could cause a problem to other people. It is expected that accommodating assistance animals may cause some inconvenience or "hardship".  The legisation allows for that.  It is just a matter ONLY of when it actually becomes "unjustifiable". That would not be the case when I am carrying them both or even just the smaller one, Pookh, and have Pyosik on a lead..

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