Last night on Lateline Jonathan Hunyor, CEO of The Public Interest Advocacy Centre and our CEO, Damian Griffis, were interviewed following an update on Rosie Ann Fulton’s situation in the NT.
Damian Griffis tells Lateline there is no support for Indigenous people with disabilities in the Northern Territory and the issue must be addressed immediately. While Jonathon Hunyor says jailing people with cognitive impairments is unacceptable.
You can watch the video online.
Download document here.
(i) A young person who has an acquired brain injury through to exposure to violence, or alcohol or volatile substance misuse. A common residential arrangement for these people can be a town camp, or living under a bridge.
(ii) An inherited distrust of Government bureaucracies, a consequence of the forced removal practices of the past, where people with disability were institutionalised and often placed into an environment where they were exposed to abuse and neglect.
25 January 2016
First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) CEO Damian Griffis and Chairperson Aunty Gayle Rankine will give the annual Kevin Cook lecture to open Yabun Festival on Australia Day tomorrow.
Yabun Festival is one of the largest celebrations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in the country. Held annually on 26 January on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people at Victoria Park, Camperdown, the festival has a vibrant program of arts, dance, music and speakers.
Damian Griffis and Aunty Gayle Rankine are key figures in the Aboriginal disability movement in Australia and have played critical roles in the establishment of FPDN, which is the national peak body of and for First Peoples with Disability.
Damian Griffis said: “At least fifty per cent of Indigenous Australians live with a disability or long-term health condition. Disability in Aboriginal Australia is one of the critical social justice issues in Australia today.”
The speeches will explore cultural understandings of disability, human rights, the impact of colonisation and the changing disability sector in Australia.
Note to editors
The annual Kevin Cook Lecture began in 2009 at the Yabun Festival to honour the pioneering land rights work and commitment of Aboriginal rights advocate Kevin Cook in NSW for more than 50 years. Sadly, Kevin passed away in July 2015 however this lecture acknowledges his ongoing legacy and aims to spark debate and inspire the next generation to continue in his footsteps.
FPDN is the peak national body of and for Australia’s First Peoples with Disability. Fpdn.org.au @FPDNaus
FPDN is also hosting a stall at Yabun between 11.30am and 3.00pm.
Aunty Gayle Rankine, Chairperson First Peoples Disability Network
Gayle Rankine is Chairperson of First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN) and was elected chairperson of the Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Global Network in 2015.
Gayle is a Ngarrindjeri woman born in Raukkan (formally Point McLeay Mission) on Lake Alexandrina in South Australia. Gayle has represented Australia and FPDN at the United Nations in Geneva and New York.
Gayle has extensive knowledge of the needs of people with disability across urban, rural and remote communities. She has a lived experience as a person with physical disability and as a carer of relatives with physical and neurological disability, including autism.
Damian Griffis, CEO First Peoples Disability Network
Damian Griffis is a leading advocate for the human rights of Aboriginal people with disability.
Damian is a descendant of the Worimi people. He’s the CEO of First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN Australia). FPDN is the national peak body of and for Australia’s First Peoples with disability and their families. FPDN provides a strong voice of and for Aboriginal people with disabilities. The board of FPDN is made up entirely of Aboriginal people with disability.
Damian has been a central figure in the establishment of both the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and FPDN. Damian continues to represent Aboriginal people with disability and their families in a range of forums at a regional, national and international level.
In 2014, Damian won the Tony Fitzgerald (Community Individual) Memorial Award at the Australian Human Rights Awards.
Media Contacts FPDN:
Sara Irvine 0402 982 002
Jake Keane 0407 530 619
Tuesday 15 December 2015 Media reports reveal that promised additional funding to support students with disability has been delayed again and will not begin in 2016. Last week Education Ministers discussed disability funding at the Council of Australian Governments education council meeting, but did not refer to it in the communiqu? [COAG Meeting, 11 December 2015]. Data collection on prevalence of disability in Australian schools has been a long-winded process first initiated several years ago. The final data was presented at last weekÕs meeting.ÊThe AustralianÊreports that PricewaterhouseCoopers is reviewing the Òquality of the dataÓ and will provide a report in March. A report inÊThe AustralianÊtoday states: A confidential agenda item from FridayÕs meeting, obtained by The Australian, shows É about 18 per cent of all students, 673,693, have a disabilityÉ although most of these Ñ 12.5 per cent of all students Ñ would need Òsupplementary, substantial or extensiveÓ support, ?requiring more teacher support and money É At present, about 5 per cent of students have funded support at school [Delay on student disability funding 'just cruel']. The prevalence of disability among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is not known. We do know that the prevalence of disability among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is twice that of the general population, often undiagnosed and not appropriately supported. FPDN calls for a coordinated approach which focuses on the unmet educational needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander with disability to support Closing the Gap strategies. Closing the Gap in education is at risk because of ongoing delays to school disability funding. Doing something to address the impact of disability on educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is a vital step in meeting this target. Failing to act now will have life-long impacts for individuals and the wider community. Denying students with disability appropriate support now will lead to poor employment prospects and an increased likelihood of contact with the justice system. Last month, FPDN presented to the Senate Committee on education of students with disability, as part of its senate inquiry. FPDN made the following recommendations as part of its submission. 1. Establish schemes that support learning disabilities across a spectrum, in according to a childÕs learning needs. 2. Ensure that the implementation phase of the recently released National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy contains specific objectives and outcomes relating to disability. 3. Include awareness raising on the prevalence and impact of disability as a national education strategy, building on the successes shown by pilot programs, which are an established starting point for an awareness raising strategy. 4. Support awareness raising initiatives through the development of practical guidelines which educators can use to detect disability as factor in a childÕs education, and respond accordingly. This should be based on assessment as a first report, rather than defaulting to a disciplinary model. 5. Recognise Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) as a disability and ensure there are equitable learning supports for children and their families who are affected. In other words, support the need, not the label. 6. Ensure coordinated effort and links between various government initiatives and action plans, including the National Disability Strategy, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Action Plan National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy and Indigenous Advancement Strategies.
Tuesday 10 November 2015
The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has raised serious concerns about human rights violations against Aboriginal people with disability during its review of Australia’s human rights record overnight in Geneva.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) allowed member States of the HRC to assess how Australia is tracking against its human rights obligations.
The UPR provides a platform for Australian NGOs to update the international community on the human rights situation in Australia.
First Peoples Disability Network CEO, Damian Griffis is in Geneva representing the Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA), as part of the UPR Disability Coordination Group.
A number of countries asked questions of Australia relating to the high incarceration rates of Indigenous people, and the alarming fact that a number of Indigenous people with disability are incarcerated without conviction. In reply, the Australian Government made a voluntary commitment to address indefinite detention.
Damian Griffis, CEO First Peoples Disability Network said: “We welcome Australia’s commitment to address the indefinite detention of people with disability in the criminal justice system who are deemed unfit to plead.”
“The over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a national shame. More and more data is now to coming to light that confirms the anecdotal evidence we receive relating to the high rates of incarceration of Aboriginal people with disability. The indefinite detention of Indigenous people with disability, without conviction, is a clear example of this.”
Scott Avery, Research and Policy Director, FPDN said: “The Government’s commitment to address the indefinite detention of people with disability in prison needs to backed up by meaningful reform of the justice system to make sure that changes happen soon. The consequence of inaction is that people with disability will continue to languish in prison when they should not be there.”
The UPR Disability Coordination Group has been working as part of the 200 strong UPR NGO Coalition to raise priority human rights issues for people with disability, including forced sterilisation, indefinite detention, involuntary treatment, restrictive practices, legal capacity and violence in institutions.
The review report will be handed down on Thursday 12 November and the Australian Government will then have an opportunity to respond. Media contact:
Note to editors:
* Disability Fact Sheets * UPR info * UN Human Rights
27 August 2015
Today, the Australian Cross Disability Alliance will appear before the Senate Committee inquiring into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings.
The Senate Inquiry process has already revealed many hundreds of horrific stories that testify to the significantly high levels and myriad forms of violence experienced by people with disability in institutional and residential settings. The ‘closed’ nature of these settings, away from public scrutiny, means that this violence is very difficult to detect, investigate and prosecute.
“The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) knows that these stories are just the tip of the iceberg and are indicative of a widespread and far-reaching problem. It is not limited to a few rogue individuals, it is not confined to disability support settings, and it is not confined by state or territory borders. It is a national epidemic”, said Ms Carolyn Frohmader, CEO of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and ACDA member.
The ACDA welcomes the opportunity to present today in support of its comprehensive submission to the Inquiry. The submission details wide ranging systemic failures in legislation, policies and service systems in Australia that underpin the conditions that give rise to violence abuse and neglect.
The ACDA will also table testimonials and stories from hundreds of people with disability who do not have the necessary supports, the relevant information or the extensive process required to facilitate and support them coming forward to provide evidence directly to the Senate Committee.
ACDA makes 30 recommendations in its submission, but will highlight 3 key recommendations in a Call to Action:
1. We call for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in Australia.
2. We call for an overhaul of the criminal justice system so that, at every step of the process people with disability are supported in accessing the same legal protections and redress as the rest of the community.
3. We call for the establishment of an independent national statutory watchdog to protect, investigate and enforce findings regarding violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability.
Damian Griffis, CEO of First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) and ACDA member said: “The Australian Cross Disability Alliance stands united in our Call to Action. Enough is enough. We must show those that have been failed by the system that they deserve justice. The significant level of violence perpetrated against people with disability in institutional and residential settings warrants urgent national leadership to establish a Royal Commission”.
Media: Ryan Young, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0408 682 867
Public Hearing details When: Thursday 27 August, 8:30am-5:15pm (ACDA will appear at 2:15pm) Where: Mascot A Room at the Stamford Plaza Hotel, Sydney Airport, O’Riordan St & Robey Streets, Mascot
For further information
* End the Violence campaign website
* National Disability Abuse Inquiry website
About the Australian Cross Disability Alliance The ACDA is a national representative body, made up of four disabled people’s organisations(organisa tions made up of and led by people with disability):
* First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN)
* National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
* People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
* Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA).