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Australia’s Failed Disability Report Card

29 August 2012 at 2:22 pm
Staff Reporter
A coalition of major disability organisations claims Australia is failing to meet the basic rights of people with a disability in a new report to be delivered to the United Nations.

Staff Reporter | 29 August 2012 at 2:22 pm


Australia’s Failed Disability Report Card
29 August 2012 at 2:22 pm


A coalition of major disability organisations claims Australia is failing to meet the basic rights of people with a disability in a new report to be delivered to the United Nations.

According to their report Disability Rights Now, Australia is behind in nearly all areas of life including education, employment, access to health and support services, and participation in society.

The report makes 130 recommendations to the United Nations Disability Committee who are reviewing Australia's compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the first time.

“While much progress has been made over the last 30 years, Australians with disability remain significantly disadvantaged on nearly every socio-economic indicator,” a coalition spokesman from the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, Lesley Hall said.

“This report card on the difficulties faced daily by people with disability shows how far we still need to come to achieve genuine equality for all Australians.”

“This Report gives a voice to people with disability around Australia about their lived experiences and what practical steps Australian governments should take to improve their lives, safety and well-being.”

Rosemary Kayess from the Australian Human Rights Centre said that the majority of people with disability are experiencing isolation and loneliness.

“Australia is one of the most prosperous countries in the world, however, the one in five Australians who experience disability continue to be left behind and we are made to feel like second-class citizens,” she said.

The United Nations Disability Committee will undertake its review of Australia in Geneva in 2013.

The Disability Rights Now report will be launched by the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes. 

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  • Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t it when Kevin Rudd was in office that he went to the UN and signed an agreement to provide better services and lifestyles for people with disabilities? As I understand he said that he would make sure that people with disabilities and their families/carers would no longer have to live below the poverty line. Has this happened? No.

    How many people living with disability feel like they are valued members of our society? I’m sure not many…..

    Does what Kevin Rudd signing this agreement mean to any of us? Does Julia Gillard not need to honour his agreement as a rep for Australia… Or does she just discount it as a Kevin thing and she doesn’t need to bother with this part of society?

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ve been living on a disability pension lately, trying to raise a child alone, finding I had been living with 2 distinct mental health issues. I’d been trying to complete a Master’s degree after working (often 2 at a time) senior level jobs for over 30 years, until at last I broke down. Support for PwD attempting to a) survive financially and b) overcome their challenges by retraining/studying etc. is pathetic. Multiple barriers exist, not least of which is the university system, which pays mere lip-service to adapting assessments or accommodating needs – unless it is a clear case of needing elevators rather than stairs, or a transcription device. Any ‘hidden’ disability is treated as if it doesn’t exist. Mental health fits this criteria in many cases. Having dragged myself back from multiple attempts at suicide, having then been told ‘you’ll still have to pass the same as anyone else’ by a very rude instructor when I tentatively (once!) advised of my challenges, having disability services offer very trite ‘solutions’ to my needs, experiencing direct discrimination from course convenors, having been failed on a subject ONLY because I had submitted 3 days late – so 60% of my marks were removed (because I hadn’t asked for an extension, because I hadn’t anticipated a suicide attempt in that time period and put the paperwork through in advance!!!)…. and more. Now I find, that despite having a history of running programs worth $10M, despite having passed my Masters, with Credits and Distinctions, despite holding a G.C. in another discipline, despite being a woman with intensive insights to the functioning of politics, society, psychology, business management… I won’t be able to get into a research Masters, with a path to a PhD, because I didn’t get first class Honours. There is no awareness of the value of PwD’s insights to society or systems within the educational area – which is why so many professors are created who simply have their heads up their axx, and cant do research relevant to the real world. I am disgusted. Universities need to wake up. PwD have plenty of intelligence to share, and in fact, some rather amazing survival skills. I manage, despite paying over 65% of my income on rent, working hard to overcome illnesses, trying not to feel like a second-class citizen due to the condescending manner in which I have been spoken to … and getting absolutely, in my opinion, no special assistance. Simply turned up academic noses. Heaven knows what it would be like if I ever dare to advise a potential employer that I have a disability. I certainly won’t even consider doing so. I will simply struggle on with multiple strategies, most of which I had to devise myself.

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