Monday, 29 June 2015

On advocacy, leadership and the law

An Ambitious Advocate
Xavier Smerdon, ProBono News Australia, 22nd June 2015
A tireless advocate for people with disability, Graeme Innes has spent his life fighting for fairness. The former Disability Discrimination Commissioner is this week’s Changemaker ...

A lawyer by trade, Innes told Pro Bono Australia News that being born blind meant he had to start his career at the bottom and work his way up.

He has used this experience the shape the way he advocates for other people with disability ...

Plans to appoint wind farm commissioner 'very hurtful', says former disability commissioner Graeme Innes
Judith Ireland and Lisa Cox, Sydney Morning Herald, 19th June 2015
Former disability commissioner Graeme Innes has blasted the Abbott government's plans to appoint a national wind farm commissioner when there is no full-time disability commissioner as "very hurtful" and "very damaging".

"It sends a very clear message about where people with disabilities fall in the pecking order," he told Fairfax Media on Friday.

"Clearly, we fall below strong lobbyists." ...


Yael Frisch, Every Australian Counts, 18th June 2015
Since we all celebrated the first launch sites for the National Disability Insurance Scheme one of the biggest sources of uncertainty that has emerged is what will happen to disability advocacy services in this mix.

While there is a huge focus on services that provide choice and control, when you get asked big questions about life to shape your NDIS plan your first instinct isn’t likely to be “Advocacy fees thanks! Assistance with understanding my rights and ensuring they are protected!” ...
Children and young people in disability advocacy
NSW CID e-news, January 2015
Children with Disability Australia (CDA) have released an insightful issues paper highlighting how there are barriers that prevent children with disability from being advocates. The paper explores this in-depth and provides practical strategies on how organisations can encourage and include children and young people in being a voice so social and policy change. Click here to download the issues paper.

Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws
Australian Law Reform Commission, 2014
Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws (ALRC Report 124), 24 November 2014 Final Report 
This final report was tabled on 24 November 2014.This Inquiry examined laws and legal frameworks within the Commonwealth jurisdiction that deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity.A Summary Report is also available. 
Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws (ALRC 124 Summary)24 November 2014 Final Report 
This Summary Report provides an accessible overview of the policy framework and recommendations in the final Report, Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws (ALRC Report 124), tabled on 24 November 2014. 
Launch of 'Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws' - Graeme Smith, NSW Public Guardian presentation, at the launch of ALRC Final Report Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth laws in Sydney on 11 December 2014.

Acts of kindness aren't enough: disabled people need acts of leadership
Clementine Ford, The Age, 31st December 2014
... It was Stella (Young) who taught me about the social model of disability, which posits that people aren't disabled by their own bodies or conditions but by how society refuses to adapt itself to fully accommodate them. We live in a world that has more respect for heritage-listed buildings than it does for the actual human beings who can't get into them. There is more outcry over children being denied entry into pubs and bars than there is over the fact that wheelchair users can't even get into many of them - and when they can, they still can't be guaranteed that there'll be a toilet they can use. Ignorance and bigotry still actively prevent disabled Australians from making autonomous decisions about their own lives, even while the rest of the country insists on exploiting them for inspiration and motivation ...

Jackie Softly (former Acting CEO, Down Syndrome Australia) commented: Absolutely agree with Clementine Ford on this, but once again, people with intellectual disability and their access and equity issues are nowhere to be seen. Let's make 2015 a year when this changes, when it's realised that lack of information and the support you may need to understand it and have your voice heard excludes just as surely as the lack of physical access does.

National Disability Advocacy Framework
Earlier this month, the Federal Government announced a review of its National Disability Advocacy Framework. Submissions close on 24th July 2015.

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