Issue 3, November 1992


Women With Disabilities Australia began in 1985 as a women’s group known as the ‘Women’s Network’, within Disabled Peoples’ International (Australia). The Network grew and evolved to form Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA). Copyright WWDA 1992.


In This Edition

From the Editor

Adelaide Network Meeting

Women’s Network Structure

Funding Application

From the Mailbag

Recent Books


From the Editor

Welcome to our third issue. The changed appearance of this newsletter is only temporary …. this is very much a lean and quick effort because I haven’t as yet learned the new publishing software on my computer. Future issues will be much snazzier!! For the first time we are publishing edited versions of some of your letters. Please keep them coming. Send to Editor, Women’s Network Newsletter: Joan Hume, 12 Ravenswood Ave, Randwick NSW 2031 Ph: (02) 3987713 (A.H.)


Adelaide Network Meeting

A meeting has been arranged for all women interested in the Women’s Network, during the DPI/ACROD Congress in Adelaide. This will take place during lunch on Wednesday, 18th November 1992 at the Hilton Hotel, Adelaide. All interested women are invited to attend. If you have something you would like discussed please send it to the network or give the information to a woman you know will be attending.


Women’s Network Structure – by Rae Hurrell

It is important that we decide on a suitable structure for the network. We need to consider two major questions:

1) Do we wish to become a national member Organisation of DPI (Australia) thus being able to have a representative on the National Council? If we do this will have a bearing on the type of structure we decide on. To be a national member Organisation, the membership must consist of at least 51% people with disabilities with the managing committee consisting of at least 51% people with disabilities. It must have branches in at least 4 states with at least 25 members in each branch.

2) Do we wish to be able to apply for ongoing funding from the Office of Status of Women? If so we must become incorporated. Bearing this in mind I have drawn up the following suggestions for structure.

A. A state based group in each state which could work on local and state issues as well as on the larger picture. Each state could choose a person to co-ordinate with other states and so be part of a national telephone link up. This is what we have at present.

A number of special interest groups e.g. ethnic women with disabilities. These groups would be a loose collection of women who could maintain contact through the newsletter and directly with each other by mail or telephone. These groups could also have a representative on the national telephone link up group. The people on the national telephone link up group would form the national committee and would meet by telephone about 4 times a year – depending on finance.

B. Groupings made across Australia solely on the basis of special interest groups. The groups would keep in touch through the newsletter and directly by telephone and mail. One person from each group would be responsible for organising the article on their group for the newsletter and be part of the national group who meet by telephone about 4 times a year.

C. State based. Each state would organise how they wished to run their group and whether or not they wished to be part of a national group which could meet by telephone link up.

D. A loose network throughout Australia which could contact each other to discuss various topical issues.

If we wish to become a national member Organisation of DPI (Australia) we would be able to do so under A or C. Incorporation (as far as I see it) would be possible under A, B or C. So if we wish to be incorporated and be a national member Organisation of DPI (A) option A or C would be possible.

Once this is in place, of course, other questions need to be considered including:

  • Membership structure, include type of membership and membership fees.
  • Whether or not we charge for our newsletter. This could be included in the membership or be a nominal charge to cover costs, or something else.
  • What sort of a national structure we have. This could be a rotational committee or an elected one. If elected, how do we elect the people and what positions do we wish to have? At present we have the positions of chairperson (currently held by Laurie Alsop and myself) and secretary (currently held by Cheryl O’Brien).

These are important matters and when we have a group of women in Adelaide for a face-to-face meeting that would be an ideal time to discuss them bearing in mind the time constraints of a lunch time meeting. This is my opinion what about yours? Let us know what you think: write to the network, talk to someone you know who will be in Adelaide, or:

Contact Rae Hurrell
48 Dykes St Mt Gravatt Qld 4122
Ph: (07) 3494777 after 4.00 p.m. E.S.T.
Fax: (07) 3437059


Funding Application

We have applied for funding from the Grants Program of the Office of Status of Women to keep our network going. Should we be successful we would be able to keep afloat for the next 12 months and establish our structure on a firm footing. We’ll know in December so here’s hoping!


From the Mailbag

Thanks for your letters. Please keep them coming. A edited selection:

From Lina Pane, East Reservoir Vic.
How wonderful it is to receive a newsletter for women with disabilities and be invited to be part of it … finally a newsletter that hears our voice and concentrates on our issues yet at the same time works together with the disability movement, the women’s movement and society in general. An important link to bringing society together as one to being one equal society and not segregated in unequal groups. As a woman with a disability, I would love to be part of the women’s network and help in its development as I totally believe it’s necessary for us to have a unified voice and work together.

From Mrs Lorna Clement, Glen Innes NSW.
I enjoyed the two newsletteres I received. I am not big on international news and events and heavy political news (but other women may be) but if I find any articles which may be of interest I will be sure to send them.

From Mrs Wilma Davies, Country Women of Australia (CWA) Rural Representative on Disabilities, Tawonga Vic.
I did an access tour of central Albury. For years I have been fighting for access to Heritage-listed post office much stalling!! Now they are suggesting shop front. Also the Family Court 2 steps into building, then a steep flight of stairs to second floor. The receptionist said a stairmate was hired when Court sits but people needing counselling make their own arrangements. On the same level of building are Australian Customs and Work Cover Authority. Only solution for would-be importers – use a broker. The most expensive procedure. Work Cover admitted discovering their mistake soon after moving in and will move out when alternative building is found. I think they have been there about 2 years. The new site for the Police Divisional Office has access problems as yet have not written to man in charge. Wodonga does not gave so many problems, I think, as we have an active Upper Murray Regional Disabilities Group (UMRDG). Tyranny of distance is rearing its ugly head. (Concerning attending the DPI/ACROD Conference) Vic/Rail bus 12 hours and won’t lift me upstairs. Albury/Melbourne train does not connect Ansett Melbourne/Adelaide flight unless I catch 6.30 a.m. train. Leave home at least hour before. Rise 4.30. a.m.

Now Kendall Airlines tells us only small inaccessible planes on the weekends. My budget is fast disappearing – also my patience. Will write on problems of a disabled person accessing personal care next time.

This reader provided a number of suggestions for the newsletter. If any readers could follow up any of these with articles, tips, letters, please send them to the editor.

  • Have a dairy of events, relevant conferences.
  • The current content is too serious, use funny drawings, stories of outstanding women with disabilities e.g. with high profile jobs, notable sportswoman, mothers coping with family life.
  • Improve the design and layout.
  • Have a tips page: e.g. grooming, how to put on stockings (without laddering them) or make-up without smudging it or how to get things out of the oven when you can’t use your hands properly.
  • Publish a guide to accessible women’s centres which specialise in dealing with needs of women with disabilities e.g. pregnancy, hygiene.