parental responsibility is defined in the family law act section 61b
Parental responsibility is defined in the Family Law Act Section 61B as all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law parents have in relation to children. The same law also provides that parents exercise parental responsibility over their children with respect to major long-term issues involving the care, welfare and development of a child. Major long-term issues include but are not limited to the child’s name, education, religious and cultural upbringing, health and living arrangements.
Parental responsibility continues even through the separation, divorce and remarriages of the parents but ceases once the child turns 18 years old or is adopted. However, the parental powers are dwindling over the years, meaning parental powers and responsibilities gradually cease as the child grows and becomes mature.
In the case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority and the DHSS  AC 112 a mother sought to prohibit the local health authority from providing her daughters with contraceptive advice or treatment without her consent while they are below 16 years of age. The issue was whether a child under 16 years of age is capable of deciding for himself or herself with respect to medical treatment or whether such decisions can only be made by a parent or other responsible adult.
By a majority of 3:2, the House of Lords decided that parental powers cease to exist when the child has sufficient intelligence, maturity and understanding to be able to decide reasonably on particular matters, which came to be known as the “Gillick competency”. The statements from the Gillick case were adopted by the High Court of Australia in Secretary, Department of Health and Community Services v JMB and SMB (Re Marion) (1992) FLC 92-293.
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Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.