PWD E-Bulletin: Disability and Decision – Federal Election 2010

16 August 2010 - ISSN 2202-0705

Welcome to this very special E-Bulletin, providing you with all the information you need to know to participate in the upcoming federal election, which will be held on Saturday 21 August 2010.

Included in this edition are links to the PWD election platform (what we want from the next Australian Government); links to all the major parties and their policies relating to disability; information on how to vote; and recent coverage on disability and the election in the media.

Many of the stories in this E-Bulletin will link up to information on the PWD webpage. We will be regularly updating our webpage throughout the election campaign to provide you with the latest news, policy releases, political commentary, accessibility announcements or anything else we think might be of interest to you.

Remember to regularly check to make sure you are fully informed for this election!

To be added to or removed from our mailing list, or to change your email address, please email or contact PWD on one of the numbers listed at the end of this bulletin.

We hope you enjoy this edition. Happy voting!



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“To all Members of PWD, I urge you to make your vote count in this upcoming election.

People with disability must show a united approach on disability reform, as for far too long people with disability have been treated like burdens on society and allowed only tokenistic input into realising their human rights.

Please read all the information available from both sides of government, as well as the minor parties, before casting your vote. This will make your vote count.

We have no intension of swaying anyone in the direction of either party, as I believe all our members are capable of making an informed decision on which Party may best cater for their needs.

I know we all have our own personal issues, but at the same time we must consider all people with disability regardless of their color, creed, or type of disability; we are all equal and have the Right to Equality.

Now is the time for us to go forward and show we are capable of making our opinions count; we have been pushed aside for far to long, so let us show the rest of Australia how determined and resilient we are in persevering for a better quality of life under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which has been ratified by the Australian Government.”

Jan Daisley, President of PWD

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Why Vote?

It is absolutely important for all Australians, but particularly Australians with disability, to vote in any local, state or national election. This is because your vote affects the composition of the governing bodies that make the decisions which affect the lives of all Australians.

Australia is a representative democracy, which means we elect representatives to make decisions on our behalf. It is the right and responsibility of every Australian to vote. This ensures that everyone's voice is heard and our elected representatives genuinely are those preferred by the majority of the electorate.

As people with disability, we already represent a minority voice in Australia, one which is often unheard in the greater discussion on national policy making. As a result, many policies pass, or are left unchanged, because the decision makers who run the country haven’t heard our views and don’t realise that they matter!

Therefore it is essential that you vote.

The Federal Government makes decisions about issues that affect all Australians. Its responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Ÿ         the national economy;

Ÿ         defence;

Ÿ         foreign policy;

Ÿ         immigration;

Ÿ         social services including pensions and family support;

Ÿ         trade and commerce;

Ÿ         post-secondary education; and

Ÿ         Medicare and health funding.

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How to Vote

The 2010 Federal Election is on Saturday 21 August 2010.

Voting takes place between 8am and 6pm at polling places around the country. Where you will be on Election Day determines how you can vote.

If you are in your local area you can vote at any polling place in your electorate. The locations are advertised on the Australian Electoral commission (AEC) website and in major newspapers the Friday before Election Day.

If you are in your home state or territory but outside your electorate, you can vote at any polling place. This is called an absent vote.

If you will be in another state or territory you can only vote at special interstate voting centres. Locations will be advertised at the time of the election. Alternatively, you could cast an early vote before you leave home or you can apply for ballot papers to be sent to you.

If you are not able to vote on election day you may be eligible to vote at an early voting centre or to apply for a postal vote. Remember, if you do apply for a postal vote, ballot papers can’t be sent to you until the candidates for the election are finalised.

For more information on how to vote, please visit the AEC at

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has a range of information and services available to support voters with a disability to ensure their vote in the 2010 federal election on Saturday, 21 August 2010.

A new initiative at the 2010 election, telephone voting, is now available in 125 locations across Australia to allow voters who are blind or have low vision to cast a secret vote. This service is available both before and on Election Day in all AEC divisional offices and other selected locations. Voters using this service will have their name marked off the electoral roll and then cast their vote in private over the phone. To find out how this voting will work including opening hours, visit how to vote if you are blind or have low vision or call 13 23 26.

Essential election information, including the ‘Your Official Guide to the 2010 Federal Election’ delivered to households across Australia, is also available online in a range of accessible formats, including large print, e-text and audio and in Braille and other formats by calling 13 23 26.

Polling places with disabled access are shown at including identifying those that are fully accessible or accessible with assistance. Each polling place also has at least one wheelchair access table top voting screen. At the polling place, if anyone needs help to vote, polling place staff are trained to assist or the voter can have a family member of friend assist. Anyone that makes a mistake filling in their ballot paper should ask a polling official for a replacement ballot paper and start again.

People who are deaf, or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment can use the National Relay Service (NRS) to call the AEC. TTY users phone 133 677 and ask for 13 23 26; Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) voice only users can phone 1300 555 727 and ask for 13 23 26.

Having Trouble Voting?

It is absolutely important for people with disability to vote.  However, many people with disability are faced with barriers in trying to vote.  You can make the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) aware of these barriers by emailing

PWD also wants to know your experiences of voting in this election, whether good or bad.  This will help us continue our advocacy to make the electoral process accessible to all people with disability.  If you have a good news story or face any problems during the electoral process, please contact Dean Price by email

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PWD’s Election Platform

PWD’s platform for the 2010 Federal Election outlines five key issue areas for people with disability that need to be addressed by the next Australian Government.  

The actions outlined at the bottom of each issue area are the important and urgent steps that must be taken in order to achieve a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights, citizenship, contribution, potential and diversity of all people with disability are respected and celebrated - the vision of PWD.

We are urging all parties to commit to addressing each of these issues, and taking the recommended actions.  The actions are by no means exhaustive, but provide a basic framework within which parties can elaborate.

The five issue areas are:

  • Making Rights Real – Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Self Determination – Gaining control of our lives and our supports
  • An End to Institutions – Creating a non-segregated society
  • Mental Health – Recognising and Realising the rights of people with psychosocial disability
  • Violence against people with disability – Preventing and responding to abuse & neglect

In the weeks before the election, we will be sending out press releases to the media and to all the relevant MPs to highlight the issues which we have identified as being of key concern.

Click here to read the PWD election platform

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PWD Media Releases

Over the course of the Federal election campaign PWD will be sending out a stream of media releases, calling on parties to create visionary, meaningful policies to create positive change for people with disability.

We will also issue releases holding politicians responsible for when they create policies which aren’t fully inclusive and within the CRPD framework.

We have already released the following, which are available on the PWD website:

Ÿ         13 August: PWD calls on the next Federal Government to close all institutions housing people with disability

Ÿ         12 August: Making Rights Real - Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Ÿ         10 August: People with disability want a fair go – not "goodies"

Ÿ         10 August: Mental Health - Recognising the rights of people with Psychosocial Disability

Ÿ         4 August: Disability and Decision 2010 - The Coalition Needs to Get it Right!

Ÿ         27 July: Tackling the Barriers: PWD welcomes Government initiatives to make our community accessible

Ÿ         26 July: Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders: PWD welcomes Government Initiative

Keep checking the PWD website for further releases and media alerts!

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The Parties and their Policies

Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated
(No visible policy section of the website)

Australian Democrats
“Inclusion for the Disabled.”

Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party
(As of 4pm 6 Aug website states “Federal Election policies to be announced shortly - come back soon - it will be worth it”)

Australian Greens

Australian Labor Party
“Draft National Disability Strategy”
“A better start for children with disability”
“Supported accommodation for people with disability” (Particularly Chapter 7: Securing an inclusive future for all Australians)

Australian Sex Party

Building Australia Party
No disability specific policy published

Carers Alliance
All policy has a focus on carers of people with disability.

Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
No specific disability policy found

Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
No specific disability policy found

Communist Alliance
(As of 12.16pm 20 July, no disability specific policy published, however mental health is mentioned under the health policy)

Country Liberals (Northern Territory) (largely addresses Territory policy, rather than federal. Links to the national sites of the National Party of Australia and the Liberal Party of Australia)

Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia
Constitutional and democratic rights section addresses some disability related policy, such as the revocation of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – CRPD).

Family First Party
‘Supporting people with a disability’ and ‘Caring for Carers’

Liberal Democratic Party
No disability specific policy published
Federal Election 2010 page -

Liberal Party of Australia
Mental health policy is the only disability focused policy published

National Party of Australia
Policy on is the same as on

Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
No disability specific policy published

One Nation
No disability specific policy published Does contain a what amounts to a promise to abandon Australia’s commitment to the CRPD.

Secular Party of Australia
No disability specific policy published

Senator On-Line
To quote the website: ‘Senator Online's view will be the view of the Australian public as determined by its online poll. As such, it is inappropriate to have predetermined policies.’

Shooters and Fishers Party
No disability specific policy published

Socialist Alliance
No disability specific policy published

Socialist Equality Party
No disability specific policy published

The Climate Sceptics
No disability specific policy published

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Recent Media Stories

Abbott flags welfare review – Sydney Morning Herald
16/08/2010 - Paul Ramadge, Michael Gordon and Michelle Grattan

Greens going mental and dental – Parramatta Advertiser
16/08/2010 - Di Bartok

Real vision buried in the ballyhoo – Australian
14/08/2010 - Mike Steketee

Labor, Coalition pledge to assist veterans – SBS World News
12/08/2010 - AAP

Andrew Peacock under fire for 'handicap' remark – Australian
10/08/2010 - Stephen Lunn

Local mums join campaign trail – Gympie Times

Fund the severe mental illnesses – Australian
05/08/2010 - Pamela Rutledge

Qld wants disabled to vote from home – Sydney Morning Herald

Coalition's incentive to hire older workers – Daily Telegraph
04/08/2010 - Sue Dunlevy

Boost housing, welfare body says – Sydney Morning Herald
04/08/2010 - AAP

Disability funds 'first step' – Northern District Times
03/08/2010 - Melissa Davey

Disability access does matter: Shorten – Sydney Morning Herald

Abbott slips up while decrying waffle – Age
02/08/2010 - Michelle Grattan

Minds put on the line – Courier Mail
02/08/2010 - Madonna King

Band-Aid for broken mental health system – Sydney Morning Herald
29/07/2010 - John Mendoza

PM's mental health message hits snag – Sydney Morning Herald
27/07/2010 - Karlis Salna

Mental health a second-term priority, says Gillard – Age
27/07/2010 - Tom Arup

Coalition to remove thousands from jails – Sydney Morning Herald

Disabled offered $3M leadership training – Sydney Morning Herald
24/07/2010 - AAP

Win for the deaf as cinemas agree to captioning – Sydney Morning Herald
23/07/2010 - Adam Fulton

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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, email or contact us on 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 by one of the means 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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