PWD E-Bulletin


Issue 69 JUNE 2011 - ISSN 2202-0705

Welcome to PWD’s E-Bulletin. The e-bulletin goes out to members and interested others regularly by email. For members who do not have access to email, a printed version of the e-bulletin will be sent by post.

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Disability Rights Defenders

Whether you are a member of not, another significant way to support PWD is to become a Disability Rights Defender. Disability Rights Defenders help change lives by making a significant financial contribution to support the work of PWD through regular, monthly, tax-deductible donations. Regular donations help us pursue essential projects, such as systemic and legal advocacy projects, assist with conducting members’ and stakeholders consultations, enable us to work with Disabled People’s Organisations in the Pacific and in providing information and training to people with disability and their associates. If you’d like to know more about the Disability Rights Defender Program, click here.


New South Wales News

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New South Wales News

NSW Government announces move towards individualised funding for people with disability

On 2 June the NSW Government announced they would be holding a two day summit, which will look at individualised funding as a key planned reform in the sector.

In a press release issued at the announcement, Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, Andrew Constance, said individualised funding packages would put carers and people with a disability at the centre of decision-making. Under the O'Farrell Government's proposal, people with a disability won't be dictated to by bureaucrats when it comes to the services they receive, Mr Constance said. This will put carers and people with a disability in control of their funding arrangements.

A two day summit will be held on 7 and 8 July to start the process of consultation. PWD will be actively participating in this summit.

Click here to read the full Media Release.

PWD raises concerns over Minister’s support for congregate care facility

On 2 June 2011, the Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, announced funding of $3 million for the Ryde Area Supported Accommodation for Intellectually Disabled (RASAID) to assist them in a pilot program for supported accommodation.

The Minister states that “Instead of families waiting for their child’s placement in a group, RASAID will be able to determine the model of care their children want and shape it themselves”.  The Minister claims that the RASAID model of care is based on a person-centred approach.

However, PWD is extremely concerned that the new accommodation that this funding will be used for is neither in accordance with the NSW Disability Services Act nor the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  The funding will be used to build cluster housing facilities for people with disability, aligning the new NSW Coalition Government with the regressive moves taken by the previous NSW Labor government in the rebuilding of institutions.

PWD has raised our concerns directly with the Minister, as have other representative and disability advocacy organisations.  PWD has actively advocated for an end to the crisis in housing and support for people with disability in NSW, but has always argued that this must be provided in line with human rights obligations and the NSW Disability Services legislation.

We urge the Minister to:

  • stop funding initiatives that are contrary to human rights and disability service legislation;
  • develop guidelines to ensure that funding decisions, individualised funding options and service design and delivery in the area of housing and support (‘supported accommodation’) are based on human rights and disability service legislation;
  • ensure that people with disability and their representative organisations are included in the process of guideline development (as outlined in Article 4 CRPD).

For more information contact Therese Sands, Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

PWD meets with NSW Greens

On Thursday 2 June, PWD met with the Hon. Jan Barham, a Greens Party member of the NSW Upper House. 

PWD discussed key issues arising from our NSW election platform, including boarding house reform and the need for an independent organisation that monitors NSW services and broad disability policy against the Disability Services Act and the CRPD.

PWD will continue to meet with members of the new NSW Parliament over the coming months to raise our key issues of concern.

Click here to read PWD’s NSW Election platform.

For more information contact Sonya Price-Kelly, Systemic Advocacy on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

PWD calls on NSW members of Parliament to act for rights

On 20 June PWD sent an email ‘call’ to all members of the NSW Parliament urging them to reject the recommendation made by the NSW Judicial Commission to remove a judicial officer on the basis of future mental illness.

This action came as a result of two recent high-profile cases involving NSW Magistrates being questioned around their right to remain in public office on the basis of complaints about their conduct and their mental health conditions (psychosocial disability).  In one case, the NSW Parliament decided not to remove Magistrate Betts from her judicial office on the basis of her mental health condition.

The second case is still due for decision.

PWD acknowledges the high responsibility of judicial office and the need for significant public confidence in this office.  However, we are concerned that decisions made by MPs should be based on the judicial officer’s ability to perform their job rather than on the basis of disability.

We argue that current legislative and policy frameworks provide clear guidance for recognising the responsibility of judicial office and for maintaining public confidence:

  • a person’s ability to fulfil a judicial role can only be based on the person’s ability to perform the inherent requirements of the job, not on the present or future presence of ‘disability’.  This principle is enshrined in the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. 
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratified by Australia in 2008 clearly articulates the obligations on governments to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of people with disability.  CRPD makes clear that in the situation concerning “the ability of any person to fulfil the responsibilities of an office, or a civic duty, the qualifying or disqualifying factor must be the person’s ability to fulfil the inherent requirements of the position, with any reasonable adjustments that they may require.  The law should expressly prohibit disqualification based on impairment or disability status” (PWD Position Paper, Everyone Everywhere, 2009).
  • NSW Government policy in the area of disability (Stronger Together: a new direction for disability services in NSW 2006-2016) and mental health (NSW: a new direction for mental health) explicitly aims to facilitate inclusion and full participation of people with disability in all aspects of community life. 

To read more on the issue, see “Agenda against Magistrate Maloney – lawyer” – AAP, 22/06/2011

For more information contact Therese Sands, Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

NSW Feature: Touching Base Incorporated – Rights to sexual expression

PWD has supported Touching Base since its establishment ten years ago and for the majority of its history PWD has had a representative on the Touching Base Management Committee. See our link to Touching Base under the ‘Supported Projects’ section on our home page

PWD supports Touching Base’s stance that people with a disability have an intrinsic right to sexual expression. This right enables people to develop relationships, have sex, explore and express their sexuality and achieve intimacy without personal or systemic barriers.

Touching Base NSW aims to:

  • Facilitate the links between people with a disability, their support organisations and the sex industry
  • Encourage information sharing and educational training programs for sex workers, people with a disability and their carers.
  • Raise the public and professional awareness of the issues surrounding the access and provision of sex industry services for people with a disability.

The Touching Base Committee of Management is led by sex workers and people with disability and is supported by organisations including PWD, Cerebral Palsy Alliance (formerly the Spastic Centre of NSW), Family Planning NSW, Multiple Sclerosis Limited and Scarlet Alliance – Australian Sex Workers Association.

Touching Base has become well known internationally for demonstrating the sorts of collaborations between people with disability and sex workers that can be achieved within a decriminalised sex industry setting.

For more information about Touching Base, visit their website at

Touching Base - 10th Anniversary and Launch of new policy resource

On Tuesday 12 April 201, human rights activists including the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, the Human Rights Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes AM and well-known feminist Eva Cox AO assisted Touching Base in celebrating their 10th Anniversary along with 120 enthusiastic supporters at Customs House, Sydney.  The anniversary also included the launch of Touching Base’s new resource, ‘Policy and Procedural Guide for disability service providers supporting clients to access sex workers’

Agency staff and service users will benefit from this resource as it provides clear principles, practical guidance and simple tools to assist their decision-making processes when supporting people with disability to access sex services. Aimed to address a prior gap in policy development, this resource will also be of interest and value to policy makers, scholars, researchers and students across many different disciplines, along with professionals and others who are interested in disability, sexual expression and human rights around the world.

This Guide has been very well received and is now available for sale for $50.00 a copy (+postage and handling) and you can order your copy right now via this link:

Touching Base wishes to acknowledge their appreciation to the City of Sydney for its generous grant which greatly assisted in the launch of this Guide and their donation of the launch venue.

Follow this link to media release with photos from the official launch:

Touching Base - Groundbreaking Documentary: Scarlet Road

PWD would like to draw attention to Scarlet Road, a documentary which follows the work of an Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton, who specialises in working with people with disability.

The latest documentary from award-winning director Catherine Scott and producer Pat Fiske, Scarlet Road follows Rachel in her relationship with John, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 26 years ago and Mark, a client with cerebral palsy. Revealing the therapeutic aspects of human touch and sexual intimacy, this unique film gives voice to two men generously sharing moments of sexual self-discovery. It follows Rachel on a journey to the UK, Denmark and Sweden, where she meets with sex workers and people with disability, as well as making quite an impression as a speaker at the World Congress on Sexual Health.

The film features interviews with PWD staff, as well as footage from our participation in the 2009 Mardi Gras Parade.

Click here to watch the trailer.

To support the campaign, visit the Face Up site on

Touching Base - tax deductible gifts and donations

Touching Base has recently been granted the authority to receive donations and give tax deductible receipts. So if anyone has been looking for a charity which champions the sexual rights of people with disability please make a donation today to support their work.

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Other State and Territory News

Victoria: Launch - GLBT Disability Support Services

GLBT Disability Support Services proudly announced its official launch on 7 June 2011. The organisation aims to support people with disability and older people in Victoria who identify as being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer.

The organisation hopes to give the GLBTIQ community with disability and older people peace of mind in being who they are and allow them to make choices and decisions in their life about what activities, supports and community groups they would like to be a part of, without the feeling of isolation or segregation.

GLBT Disability Support Services will be offering weekly events and activities that you will see posted on their website. 

For more information, visit their website at  

For any queries email

Victoria: MRC Northwest's Disability programs

Diversity and Disability (DnD) is a self-advocacy program for ethnic people with a disability run from the Migrant Resource Centre North West in St Albans. DnD supports people with disability from ethnic background to speak up for themselves and know their rights in society. The idea is to empower people with a disability to believe in themselves and in what they can achieve in their life.

For this purpose, DnD have monthly support groups with a facilitator and guest speakers coming to talk about important issues to participants. They also provide self-advocacy training for people with a disability from ethnic background to learn to advocate for themselves and others.

DnD are running an artistic support group called Discover the Artist in You, as a mean of using arts to empower people and build up confidence, through painting and drawing in different forms. DnD are also running a self-advocacy support group where participants learn about advocating for themselves and talk about issues related to assertiveness, human rights, transports, accessibility and service providers. Both support groups run regularly every two weeks.

DnD also regularly run workshops on specific topics of interest to ethnic people with a disability. For example, they have already successfully workshops on women and abuse, employment rights for people with a disability and dealing with everyday life conflicts. They also run a yoga class and an artist group every fortnight. Their workshops run every three months with a different topic for each session.

DnD has a steering committee made of 8 ethnic people with a disability who provide directions to me on the program. They have a promotional brochure which is available in 20 community languages, including Easy English.

DnD supports ethnic people with a disability but its services are open to all people with a disability.

If you would like to learn more about the service, please contact the Migrant Resource Centre North-West Region Inc. on telephone: (03) 9367 6044 or email

Victoria: VCOSS Taxi Forum

The Victorian Government recently announced an independent inquiry into the Victorian taxi and hire car industry to be chaired by Professor Allan Fels AO. The inquiry is looking at all aspects of the taxi industry and aims to make changes which will lead to better quality services for taxi customers.

The inquiry knows that taxi services are especially important for people with different levels of mobility, including senior Victorians, users of mobility aids, and some people with disability who face challenges with driving or using public transport. A key focus of the inquiry is to look at how the taxi system works for people who rely on taxis and identify ways to fix the current problems.

This forum is being held by the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) to assist the Taxi Inquiry to hear the voices of taxi users. The inquiry team wants to hear your views on the Multi-Purpose Taxi Program, Wheelchair Accessible Taxis, booking taxis, service from drivers, or anything else that affects you!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011, 11AM – 2PM (Registration from 10AM) Etihad Stadium, Limelight Room (enter Gate 4), 740 Bourke Street, Docklands.

Register online by Thursday 14 July at or visit their website to download the registration form. RSVP Essential.

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National news

New funds to strengthen the voice of people with disability in Australia

PWD warmly welcomed the announcement on Wednesday 8 June by Attorney-General, the Hon. Robert McClelland and Parliamentary Secretary for Disability and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, of additional funding to ensure people with disability play a key role in international discussions on disability rights.

Senator McLucas announced the funding of $300,000 over three years at the National People With Disabilities and Carers Council meeting in Melbourne, with Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes.

Senator McLucas said “This funding, through our National Disability Strategy, will enable disability peak bodies and individuals to attend prominent or key international meetings and conferences.

“It will ensure people with disability and the organisations representing them can get involved and have their say on the international stage across a broad range of issues.

PWD welcomes the funding as a key way in which Australia can aim to meet its obligations outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which states that people with disability and their representative organisations must be engaged in decision-making processes that affect their lives.

PWD has struggled to fund participation in international human rights meetings, including the United Nations meetings for the development of CRPD, but has done so to ensure that the voice of people with disability in Australia is heard at the International level.  This funding will go a long way towards ending this struggle and provide certainty that we can be heard on issues affecting our lives. 

Click here to read the PWD press release.

Click here to read the joint media release from the Attorney-General & Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers.

The Australian Human Rights Commission will be responsible for administering the funds and it has prepared and released draft funding guidelines for comment.

For more information contact Therese Sands, Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

Government Report - Supporting people with disability into work 

On 1 June the Federal Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin MP, released a report on disability support pensioners. The report, Characteristics of Disability Support Pension Recipients 2010, profiles the 792,581 receiving the DSP at 30 June 2010.

The report aims to highlight the need for the Australian Government's reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) to get more people into the workforce.

The report shows that there are continuing barriers to work for people with disability and more needs to be done to help them to participate in the workforce.

While PWD has always been supportive of reforms to remove barriers to employment for people with disability, we are continuing to raise issues where these reforms negatively impact on people with disability.  We will be analysing this report in the context of our advocacy in this area.

Click here to read the full press release.

PWD defends the rights and entitlements of DSP Recipients

On Thursday 3 June, one of PWD’s Executive Directors, Michael Bleasdale, appeared on the Channel 7 current affairs show Today Tonight, defending media allegations of pension fraud and ‘bludging’ by pension recipients.

Following this interview, PWD endorsed a letter send by ACOSS and other ACOSS members to the Hon Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Hon Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Human Services, expressing their deep concern about the vilification of Disability Support Pensioners in recent media stories. These included the Today Tonight report on 3 June and the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s headline on the same day.

In the letter, ACOSS drew attention to the fact that while public attitudes towards people with disability and others on social security payments are shaped by stories in the mainstream media, Government has a role to play in countering misleading information about and vilification of disability pensioners and assuaging the fears that these stories provoke.

The letter called on the Federal Government to assure its constituents that public humiliation of individuals is not part of the Government’s compliance strategy and that the Government will contest the vilification of disability pensioners as a group in media stories such as these.

PWD will continue to react loudly to media stories which publicly vilify DSP recipients.

For more information contact Michael Bleasdale, Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

ADDC Official World Report Launch in Canberra

The Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC) conducted the “All for Development” event at Parliament House in Canberra on 21 June.  PWD is a founding member of ADDC and a current Executive Committee member.

The event also launched the latest edition of the ADDC and Australian National University’s Development Bulletin, Implementing disability-inclusive development in the Pacific and Asia. PWD was a contributor to the Bulletin, which included presentations from the ADDC Conference held in Darwin in 2010.

The event included a number of distinguished guests, including 35 Members of Parliament, representatives from Federal and State government, Universities, NGO’s and ADDC Membership, including representative organisations of people with disability.

Australian Government NGO Forum on Human Rights

PWD participated in the Australian Government NGO Forum on Human Rights in Parliament House Canberra on 23 June 2011.

The Forum provided an opportunity for human rights NGOs to discuss key domestic and international human rights issues.  There were a range of issues canvassed with the Australian Government including disappointment at the decision not to enact a Human Rights Charter. 

PWD raised issues relating to implementation of the National Disability Strategy, the engagement of NGOs in the upcoming Commonwealth Law Ministers’ Meeting and the Australian Government’s consultation process for engaging with NGOs on human rights issues.

The Forum was chaired by the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and included an address by Attorney-General, the Hon Robert McClelland MP and an address by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP.

For more information contact Therese Sands, Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport

The Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (the Transport Standards) took effect on 23 October 2002. Information on the Transport Standards is available on the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department website.

The first five years review of the Transport Standards took place in 2007 and since this time PWD and other disability organisations have been urging the Australian Government to release the review report and its response.  This has now occurred with the final report and Government response being on 3 June 2011.  The final report is available for download below:

Final Report [Word: 1055 KB] [PDF: 9918 KB]

The purpose of the review is to inform the Australian Government's consideration of the future direction, structure and operation of the Transport Standards. Further background information for this review is provided on the background information page.

In line with the requirements of Part 34 of the Transport Standards, the objectives of the project were to review the efficiency and effectiveness of the Transport Standards and:

  • assess whether discrimination has been removed, as far as possible, according to the requirements for compliance set out in Schedule 1 of the Transport Standards;
  • assess the need for any amendments to the Transport Standards; and
  • make recommendations for any necessary amendments to the Transport Standards.

Click here for more information from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport website.

The National Human Rights Action Plan and people with disability - NGO workshop

The Human Rights Law Centre (HLRC) and PWD hosted an NGO workshop at the Australian Human Rights Commission in Sydney on 29 June 2011 which looked at human rights issues facing people with disability in NSW and how NGOs can engage with the Australian Government’s consultation process for the development of a National Human Rights Action Plan. This workshop was attended by a range of Australian and NSW disability representative and advocacy organisations.

As part of Australia's Human Rights Framework, the Australian Government is developing a new National Human Rights Action Plan to outline future action for the promotion and protection of human rights.  This presents the Australian community with a unique opportunity to systematically consider Australia's strengths and address our shortcomings in human rights laws and practice.

As part of a formal consultation process for developing the National Action Plan, the Attorney-General will shortly release the draft National Action Plan and a baseline study for public comment and submissions.  

The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) is hosting a series of workshops throughout Australia to provide NGOs with information about the National Action Plan, raise awareness about how to engage with the National Action Plan consultation process and generate ideas for submissions.

In running these workshops the HRLC aims to help prepare the human rights and community sectors for the Government's consultation process for developing the National Human Rights Action Plan. 

More information about the National Human Rights Action Plan is available on the Attorney Generals’ website.

People with Disability supports ASU Equal Pay Day of Action

PWD proudly joined other social and community services workers around Australia on 8 June in taking to the streets in the fight for equal pay for community and social workers.


The ASU Equal Pay Day of Action followed Fair Work Australia (FWA)’s landmark ruling on 17 May that gender is a key reason why workers in the social, community and disability services industry (SACS) are being paid less than employees of state and local governments who perform similar work.


PWD joined other social and community organisations to call on Australian governments to fund changes to the system which will enable organisations to continue performing their essential services while incorporating this wage increase.


PWD has supported this campaign from the start, recognising the significant gender base pay gap which exists in our sector and the ongoing undervaluation of the crucial role social and community services have to play in Australia.

PWD is now calling on all levels of Australian governments to acknowledge that social and community service workers have been underpaid for too long, and commit to fund whatever increases are awarded by Fair Work Australia.

Click here to read the press release issued by PWD on the ASU Rally.

AYAC and YDAS Submission to Review of Disability Standards for Education

PWD was pleased to contribute to the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) and Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS)’s recent joint submission in response to the Review of Disability Standards for Education 2005.


The submission is for the Government’s current review of the Disability Standards for Education, which aim to give young people with disability equal opportunity to access and participate in education free from bullying and discrimination. This is the first time the Disability Standards for Education have been reviewed since 2005.


The joint submission was developed in consultation with AYAC’s Policy Advisory Council, which comprises of all youth State and Territory peak bodies, as well as young people and youth-led organisations and specialist organisations with a disability focus, such as PWD. The submission also included feedback from young people with disability who contributed ideas via AYAC’s online survey, which we advertised in PWD’s April E-Bulletin.


Click here to download the AYAC/YDAS joint submission.


To read the results of the AYAC survey and participate in the follow up survey, click here to visit the AYAC webpage

Ethnicity and Disability = Human Diversity

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is facilitating workshops on human rights of people from non-English speaking background (NESB) with disability.

People who are born in a non-English speaking country with disability or people born in Australia but who identify culturally, ethnically or linguistically diverse and who live with disability are invited to attend.

The Workshops aims are to inform on human rights for people from NESB with disability and to learn from participants how human rights can be achieved in everyday life.


  • ADELAIDE: Friday 17 June 2011 - Julia Farr Association, McLeod Room, 104 Greenhill Road UNLEY SA 5061
  • DARWIN: Friday 24 June 2011 - Charles Darwin University, Casuarina campus, Building Red 6, Room 3, Level 1 (ground floor)
  • PERTH: Friday 24 June 2011 - Subiaco Arts Centre - Undercroft Room, 180 Rokeby Road, Subiaco WA 6008
  • CANBERRA: Friday 8 July 2011 - Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, Function Room, Level 2, North Building, 180 London Circuit, Canberra
  • MELBOURNE: Monday 25 July 2011 – Multicultural Hub, Orange Room, 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne (opposite the Queen Victoria Market)
  • GLENORCHY: Friday 5 August 2011 - Glenorchy Civic Centre - Terry Martin Room, Cooper Street, Glenorchy Tasmania

ASSISTANCE: NEDA can arrange interpreters, translated documents, support workers, transport assistance, dietary requirements – Just contact NEDA and inform them of what assistance you require.

CONTACT DETAILS – please contact NEDA by 18 July 2011 on telephone 1300 486 038 or 0407 878 933 or email

This project is funded through the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department.

Don’t stand by, stand up!

Online youth mental health service,, (a project of the youth organisation the Inspire Foundation) and the Australian Human Rights Commission have partnered together for a national campaign calling on young people aged 14 -25 to create an anti-bullying pledge that highlights the importance of the bystander in preventing bullying.

PWD believes this site will be of real use to young people with disability, for whom bullying is a very real and sadly common experience, both at school and in the community.

The ‘Don’t Stand By, Stand Up’ campaign encourages young people to stand up to bullies, stand up for their friends and stand up for other young people who are being bullied by creating an anti-bullying pledge. 

The campaign invites uploading anti-bullying messages to the Facebook page

Entries can be submitted as either an image or as words.

Pledges are then voted on, and the five entrants with the highest votes each win a $500 JB Hi-Fi voucher.  The entries may also be featured on and the Commission’s promotional materials. For further information please go to  The campaign will run until 3 June.

The Commission and have also developed factsheets for young people on how to deal with bullying, information on young people’s rights, and links and numbers on where to find help. The fact sheets can be found at the above website.

PIAC Training July - December 2011

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has released its training calendar for the second half of 2011, with information about a range of courses that might be of interest: advocacy training, media skills training, human rights training and Law for Non-Lawyers.

PIAC is an independent, non-profit law and policy organisation that works for a fair, just and democratic society, empowering citizens, consumers and communities by taking strategic action on public interest issues.

For more information about these and other courses see PIAC's website or call Karen Kwok on telephone (02) 8898 6503.

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International News

End the Cycle Campaign - Update

The End the Cycle campaign has launched their first E-News, containing updates on a range of themes around the cycle of poverty and disability.

End the Cycle is a community awareness initiative promoting the human rights and empowerment of people with disability living in the world’s poorest countries.

Included in their bulletin is a video of Edwin Kuki from the Solomon Islands. Edwin lives with a disability after getting polio as a child, but tells the story of how he spoke up and helped make a water point accessible for everyone in the village.

To view the video, click here to visit the End The Cycle website.

PWD continues to support the End the Cycle campaign and encourages all members and supporters to visit the website and sign the petition to end the cycle of poverty and disability.

EU Member states urged to improve access to elections for people with disability

UK Socialist MEP Richard Howitt has backed calls for easier access to elections for people with disabilities.

Speaking on 31 May, the Deputy said the ability of a person with disability to vote was "a basic human right." His comments come on the day experts gathered in Brussels for a conference on ways of improving accessibility of elections in member states.

The conference was organised by the European Association of Societies of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and their Families. It heard demands for improvements, such as adaptations to voting booths, including ramps for wheelchair-users. Other measures that could be taken include touch-screen voting machines for people with reduced sight.

Visit this website for more information on this story.

New Report Examines Services for Abused Women with Disability

The Centre for Women Policy Studies has released a report aiming to promote equal access to services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, irrespective of ability level. According to this report, women with disability identify violence and abuse as the most prevalent issue they face.

The report, Women, Disability and Violence: Strategies to Increase Physical and Programmatic Access to Victims' Services for Women with Disabilities, explains that victimised women with disability are less likely to seek services in abuse shelters and programs than are women without disability.

UN General Assembly adopts the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: Intensifying Our Efforts to Eliminate HIV/AIDS

More than 3000 people came together at the United Nations in New York for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS. The meeting, which ran from 8-10 June, provided an opportunity to take stock of the progress and challenges of the last 30 years and shape the future AIDS response.

The High-Level Meeting on AIDS took place 10 years after the historic 2001 United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 signing of the Political Declaration where UN Member States committed to moving towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

More than 30 Heads of State, Government and Vice Presidents attended the meeting, which included official plenary and five panel sessions along with 40 individual side events. On the final day of the High-Level Meeting on AIDS, UN Member States adopted a declaration to guide country responses to HIV over the next five years.

To read more about the meeting and the declaration visit

Click here to read the declaration.

PWD welcomes World Report in Disability

PWD welcomes the announcement of the landmark World Report on Disability on 11 June and endorsed its broad recommendations in a media release issued on the day. 

The report commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank, recommends that governments take positive action in line with their commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to enable access to mainstream services, and to invest in targeted programmes which will unlock the vast potential of people with disability.

“We’ve waited 30 years, since the International Year of People with Disability, for a report like this, which provides a thorough assessment of how people live with disability across the world.  While this report has a global perspective, all of the recommendations are applicable to Australia,” said Michael Bleasdale, an Executive Director of PWD.

The report looks at the major areas of concern for people with disability – employment, education, health, rehabilitation, access to services, data and research – and begins by broadening the definition and understanding of disability.  The application of this broader definition has revealed that around 15% of the world’s population has disability, just over one billion people, which is much higher than the estimates of 10% made in the 1970s.

Key Findings from the Report include:

  • People with disability are more than twice as likely to find healthcare provider skills inadequate to meet their needs and nearly three times more likely to report being denied needed health care.
  • Children with disability are less likely to start school than nondisabled children and have lower rates of staying in school.
  • In OECD countries, the employment rate of people with disability (44%) is slightly over half that for people without disability (75%).

The report makes nine broad recommendations for governments to take action, if they are to improve the quality of life of people with disability and to ensure that people with disability enjoy the same opportunities as others in society.

“Looking at disability globally helps us to understand the universal nature of the experiences of discrimination and lack of opportunity for people with disability.  They also bring to the fore startling facts about significant human rights issues, such as the levels of poverty experienced by many people with disability across the globe,” said Mr Bleasdale

“Australia is one of three developed countries where the relative poverty risk is more than two times higher for people with disability than for non-disabled working age adults.  Working age adults with disability are twice as likely to be unemployed, more likely to work part-time and when in work generally earn lower incomes.  This puts into perspective recent attacks on people with disability who rely on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) for their livelihood.  Media commentators and policy makers would do well to read the report and understand how entrenched this systemic disadvantage is across the world,” says Mr Bleasdale.

PWD hopes this report will bring new attention to the status of people with disability around the world and encourage governments to make real and long-term changes to enable people with disability to live full lives in the community.

Click here to download the report.

Click here to read the full PWD Media Release.

New FIGO guidelines on sterilisation of women released

PWD is pleased to report that FIGO, the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, released new guidelines on June 16th on sterilisation of women that is in line with PWD’s position on this issue.

FIGO is an international organisation that brings together professional societies of obstetricians and gynaecologists on a global basis. Currently there are member societies in 124 countries or territories.

The new guidelines recognise the particular vulnerability of some groups, including women with disability and make specific references to the CRPD.  It also articulates that only women themselves - not family members or legal guardians - can give ethically valid consent to their own sterilisation.

The recommendations (summarised here) include:

1.     No woman may be sterilised without her own, previously-given informed consent, with no coercion, pressure or undue inducement by healthcare providers or institutions.

2.     Women considering sterilisation must be given information of their options in the language in which they communicate and understand.

3.     Sterilisation for prevention of future pregnancy is not an emergency procedure. It does not justify departure from the general principles of free and informed consent.

4.     Consent to sterilisation must not be made a condition of receipt of any other medical care, such as HIV/AIDS treatment, assistance in natural or caesarean delivery, medical termination of pregnancy or of any benefit such as employment, release from an institution, public or private medical insurance, or social assistance.

5.     Forced sterilisation constitutes an act of violence, whether committed by individual practitioners or under institutional or governmental policies. Healthcare providers have an ethical response in accordance with the guideline on Violence Against Women (2007).

6.     It is ethically inappropriate for healthcare providers to initiate judicial proceedings for sterilisation of their patients or to be witnesses in such proceedings inconsistently with Article 23(1) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

7.     At a public policy level, the medical profession has a duty to be a voice of reason and compassion, pointing out when legislative, regulatory or legal measures interfere with personal choice and appropriate medical care.

For more information, please visit the FIGO website at  

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The Inside Story

From the President

Hi members,

Here we are almost into July which means the 30th Anniversary Celebration Event is approaching very fast.  I would like you all to help to make this a memorable occasion! The event PAG has been working very hard and I think the end result will be a great night of celebration. 

There is still time for anyone to contribute ideas so please put on your thinking caps on and let us know if you have any ideas.

I am also looking for articles from founding members of PWD to go in the anniversary edition of LinkUp which I hope will be a good keepsake of our thirty year anniversary.

I will leave you to think about what, if anything you can contribute. 

Until next month Best Regards,
Jan Daisley – President, PWD

PWD 30 Year Anniversary: Past Present and Future

In recognition of the 30th Anniversary of the founding of People with Disability Australia and the International Year of People with Disability, we invite all members and friends of PWD to celebrate the achievements of our organisation and the advancement of the rights of people with disability by joining us for a special event between 5-9pm on 16 July 2011 at the Mercure Sydney Hotel.

With Special Guest Speakers:

  • Mr Graeme Innes AM, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Race Discrimination Commissioner & PWD Life Member
  • The Hon Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities
  • Prof Ron McCallum AO, Chair of UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities & Senior Australian of the Year
  • Ms Joan Hume, PWD Founding Member & PWD Life Member

Join us for an evening to remember, reflect and rejoice our achievements.

Where: Mercure Sydney Hotel, 818-829 George Street (near Railway Square)
When: 5pm – 9pm Saturday 16 July 2011

Cost: FREE for members and carers. $20.00 for non-members. $10.00 for students and concession card holders.

For enquiries and tickets please contact us via:

Phone: 02 9370 3100
Freecall: 1800 422 016
TTY: 02 9318 2138
TTY Freecall: 1800 422 016

If you have any photos or other memorabilia of PWD or the disability rights movement over the last 30 years and would like to contribute it to our event please contact PWD on the contact details listed above. All items will be returned to their owner after the event.

This event has been generously supported by Gilbert + Tobin, DLA Piper and Media Access.

PWD in City2Surf

PWD has once again entered a team in the City2Surf and are looking to raise $5,000 for the organisation!

The team will include staff, members and friends of PWD, who will conquer the 14km from Sydney CBD to Bondi Beach on Sunday 14 August 2010.  PWD would love to have your support as we take on this new challenge!

If you would like to donate to the team, please visit  or contact Daphnee Cook, Communications and Membership Development Manager at

Every dollar you can give will help us to reach our goals!

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PWD Media Releases

10 June 2011: World Report in Disability sets the agenda for government action

9 June 2011: New funds will strengthen the voice of people with disability in Australia

8 June 2011: People with Disability support ASU Equal Pay Day of Action

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Upcoming Events

16 July 2011: Sydney PWD 30th Anniversary Event. Mercure Hotel, 818-820 George Street, Sydney. Guest speakers include Disability Discrimination Commissioner Mr. Graeme Innes and the Hon. Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities.


5 October-15 November: Australia Wide Human Rights Education Associates (HREA): E-learning Course: The Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For more information


26-28 October 2011: NSW SPARK Festival 2011 Creative Arts Festival for people with disability run by JunctionWorks. Early bird bookings now open.


4-6 November 2010: Parramatta, NSW International Human Rights Education Conference Educating for Human Rights, Peace and Intercultural Dialogue For more information


13-15 November 2010: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Asia Pacific CBR Convention 2010 - Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Development: Introduction of ‘The New CBR Guideline’. For more information 



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About PWD

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWD) is a national disability rights and advocacy organisation. Our membership is people with disability and organisations made up of people with disability. Individuals and organisations committed to the disability rights movement can join PWD as associate members.

PWD was founded in 1981, the International Year of Disabled People, to provide people with disability with a voice of our own. We have a cross-disability focus and represent the interests of people with all kinds of disability.

As a non-profit, non-government organisation we increasingly depends on membership fees, public donations, bequests and fundraising activities to maintain our commitment to improving the lives of people with disability. PWD is a deductible gift recipient so donations of $2 or more are fully tax deductible.

Your tax deductible donation will mean we can continue to maintain our services. If you are interested and would like to support PWD please visit

For information about membership, contact PWD on email or one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin.

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Privacy statement

We are committed to protecting your privacy. In doing so, we commit ourselves to conforming to the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000, which came into effect in December 2001 and the National Privacy Principles issued by the Australian Privacy Commissioner. This newsletter is distributed by email. You have provided us with an email address. This email address will be used only for the purpose for which you have provided it and you will not be added to any other mailing lists unless you specifically request that this be done. Your email address will not be disclosed without your consent.

You can have your email address removed from the mailing list for this newsletter by sending an email to This newsletter contains links to websites. We cannot be held responsible for the privacy practices (or lack thereof) or the content of such websites.

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Contact us

Please note that PWD publishes items contributed by other organisations at our discretion. While we will assist where possible in the dissemination of information, we do not take responsibility for the promotion or advertisement of events organised by other organisations.

If you would like to receive PWD E-Bulletin in an alternative format or have an enquiry, contact PWD by email or on one of the numbers listed below.

People with Disability Australia Incorporated
PO Box 66 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
Phone 02 9370 3100, toll-free 1800 422 015
TTY 02 9318 2138, toll-free 1800 422 016

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