Vale Disability Advocate Lesley Hall
31 October 2013 at 9:11 am
The disability sector is mourning the sudden and untimely death of Lesley Hall, who had been Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.
Hall has been championed as a tireless and effective campaigner for the rights of people with disability in Australia and overseas.
The Chairman of the NDIA Board, Bruce Bonyhady, said Hall had left an indelible mark on Australia through her leadership of the AFDO, the foundation role she played in establishing the National Disability and Carers Alliance and her advocacy for the NDIS.
“All people with disability, their families and carers, indeed all Australians, owe her a great debt,” Bonyhady said.
“She will be greatly missed and on behalf of the NDIA, I would like to extend my condolences to her family.”
“Lesley was a feminist and disability advocate with a lifelong disability and has been involved with feminist issues since 1972 and since that time has worked in various jobs empowering low income, indigenous and people with disabilities in housing, accommodation, arts, human rights and disability rights,” according to her brother Frank Hall-Bentick.
“Lesley trained and worked as a teacher and has worked in the Australian Public Service and a number of Community Organisations including the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS), the Collective of Self Help Groups and Melbourne Workers Theatre. In 1981 she helped found the Disability Resources Centre and the Women with Disabilities Feminist Collective.
“She has been a board member of DRC, ACL and Victorian Women with Disabilities Network and previously worked as an Arts & Cultural Development Officer at the City of Darebin where she promoted the inclusion of people with disabilities in all their artistic opportunities. She was a member of the Art of Difference 2009 Steering Committee and on the Board of Arts Access.
“She previously served on the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) disability advisory committee and the Victorian Disability Advisory Council (VDAC). She also represented VDAC on the Department of Human Services Industry Advisory Group.
“In September 2008 she was employed as the CEO for the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations where she brought her experience, skills and long commitment to human rights for women, people with disabilities and indigenous people to the national and international work of AFDO.
“Since joining AFDO Lesley dramatically increased the policy involvement of People with Disabilities in Australian and International Disability issues. Her high level of policy development, organisational skills and ability to empower her team of staff, volunteers and Board members has lifted AFDO’s profile to its highest level ever as the peak organisation of people with disabilities.
“On behalf of AFDO she has represented and involved people with disabilities in the consultation, lobbying and campaign to achieve the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with fantastic success.
“Lesley was a truly exceptional woman,” he said.
Lesley Hall passed away in the Austin Hospital in Melbourne following a suspected heart attack, aged 59.