July – August 2008

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is the peak organisation for women with all types of disabilities in Australia. It is a not-for-profit organisation constituted and driven by women with disabilities. Please find below a brief Update Report from WWDA for the months of July and August 2008. If you have any questions, or would like more information on anything in this report, please email Carolyn or Shirley at: wwda@wwda.org.au.


Australia ratifies UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and moves towards ratification of OPCEDAW

WWDA Submission to the Australian Government’s Consultations on the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children

WWDA Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Pay Equity and Increasing Female Participation in the Workforce

WWDA Presentations to International Conferences

WWDA Telecommunications Group – Update

Article: Coercive Sterilisation of Romani Women in Central Europe

The Midnight Quiet – A Poem by Cherie Wells

Community and Disability Services Ministers’ Conference – Communique 23 July 2008

The Pension Review

National Rural Women’s Summit – Report

News & information from other organisations


New on the WWDA Website

Resources – Books, Reports, Websites

WWDA Management Committee 2008-2009

Join WWDA!

1. Australia ratifies UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and moves towards ratification of OP-CEDAW

On July 18 Australia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), making Australia one of the first Western countries to ratify the Convention. Australia joins 34 other countries around the world in a move that aims to promote a global community in which all people with disability are equal and active citizens. Australia’s Attorney General Robert McClelland said that ratifying the CRPD “clearly demonstrates the Rudd Government’s international commitment to ensuring people with disability are treated equally and not as second-class citizens”. The Attorney General also acknowledged the substantial collaboration by Government and Non-Government stakeholders in this “significant achievement”. The ratification, which took place in New York, comes after the Rudd Government expedited its ratification processes and the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties supported taking binding treaty action in June. Ratification of the CRPD also means Australia can participate in the inaugural election of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which will oversee the implementation of the Convention. Australia’s nominee to the Committee will be announced in early September.

More information on the CRPD can be found at: http://www.un.org/disabilities/

Nominees for the CRPD Committee can be found at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crpd/crpds1.htm

The Australian Government has also signalled its intent to become a party to the Optional Protocol to CEDAW (OP-CEDAW). The OP-CEDAW was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly on 6 October 1999 and entered into force on the 22 December 2000. The OP-CEDAW contains two procedures: a communications procedure allowing individuals, or groups of individuals, to submit claims of violations of rights to the Committee on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women; and an inquiry procedure, enabling the Committee to initiate inquiries into situations of grave or systemic violations of women’s rights. Individuals may make communications only if the nation concerned is a party to the protocol. As of November 2007, there were 90 signatories to the Optional Protocol. The Howard Government had refused to sign the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, meaning that women with disabilities in Australia have effectively been locked out of using an enforcement mechanism to investigate violations of their human rights.

The Attorney-General recently called for comments on whether Australia should become a party to the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. WWDA submitted a brief submission confirming our support for such a move. Following the consultation process, the Government has proposed to Parliament that Australia should accede to the Optional Protocol. The National Interest Analysis (NIA) was tabled in Parliament on 26 August 2008 (The NIA examines the foreseeable economic, environmental, social and cultural effects of the treaty; the obligations imposed; its direct financial costs to Australia; how the treaty will be implemented domestically; and what consultation has occurred in relation to the treaty). The NIA is available at: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/26august2008/tor1.htm.

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (see: www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/index.htm) will now consider the NIA and the text of the Optional Protocol and will report by 10 November as to whether it considers the Government should become a party to the Optional Protocol. The Joint Standing Committee has invited submissions on the Optional Protocol from anyone with an interest in the subject matter of the proposed treaty action: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/26august2008/index.htm.

More information on the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol can be found at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/

During the past two months, WWDA has also provided written submissions to several other consultation processes, including:

  • the possible accession of Australia to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OP-CAT);
  • the AusAID consultation on the development of a Disability Strategy for the Australian Government’s Overseas Aid Program;
  • the Australian Government’s Draft Fourth Report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC);
  • the Senate Inquiry into the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

Contact WWDA at wwda@wwda.org.au for more information.

2. WWDA Submission to the Australian Government’s Consultations on the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children

In the lead up to the Federal election in late 2007, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) articulated its commitment to reducing violence in our community, including violence against women. In doing so, the ALP recognised the need to acknowledge the incidence and prevalence of family violence in all sectors of the Australian community and to accurately name and define family violence in all aspects of Labor Party policy making. The ALP specifically acknowledged the particular vulnerability of women with disabilities to violence and pledged to implement measures to address this.

In early 2008, the newly elected Rudd Labor Government announced its intention to establish a National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children. The National Council was established in May 2008 and has a number of roles, including the responsibility of drafting a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children. As part of this task, in June 2008, the Council called for public responses to inform the development of the Plan.

In July, WWDA developed a Submission for input into the Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children.

WWDA’s Submission entitled ‘We’re Women Too!’ stresses WWDA’s view that an integrated and inclusive human rights approach to the prevention of violence against women must take into account the variety of factors that shape and reinforce women’s experiences of discrimination and violence, including disability.

WWDA’s submission focuses on key, practical strategies to end and prevent violence against women with disabilities, and these strategies are addressed under a range of themes including:

  • A Human Rights Approach to Violence Prevention
  • Structure, Scope, & Elements of the National Plan to Reduce Violence
  • Addressing the Social Exclusion of Women with Disabilities
  • Building the Capacity of Women With Disabilities Organisations
  • Legislation and definitions
  • Data Collection and Research
  • Inclusive and accessible services and programs
  • Information, education and training
  • Access to the criminal justice system
  • Advocacy & Media Campaigns
  • Coordination and inter/multi agency collaboration

WWDA’s Submission has been widely disseminated, including a copy sent to a number of Ministers and politicians, as well as to the members of the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children. A copy is also available on WWDA’s website in HTML, Word and PDF versions, and can be found at: http://www.wwda.org.au/subs.htm. Please contact Carolyn at wwda@wwda.org.au if you would like more information.

WWDA delegates Annie Parkinson and Keran Howe also met with the members of the National Council in late August to further discuss issues around violence and women with disabilities. A report of that meeting will be provided in the next Update Report.

3. WWDA Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Pay Equity and Increasing Female Participation in the Workforce

On Thursday 26 June 2008 the Acting Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment and Workplace Relations to inquire into and report on pay equity and associated issues related to increasing female participation in the workforce.

WWDA’s Submission to this Inquiry looks at the intersection of gender, disability and employment and highlights the obvious marginalization and exclusion of women with disabilities in the Australian labour market – a situation that has remained unchanged in Australia for over a decade.

WWDA’s Submission gives a brief overview of a rights based approach to employment, recognising that equal treatment, equal opportunity, and non-discrimination provide for inclusive opportunities for women with disabilities in mainstream society. The Submission examines a range of barriers which prevent women with disabilities from securing and maintaining paid employment, including for example: discriminatory attitudes; poverty; non-optional costs of disability; inflexible work arrangements; inaccessible environments; experience of and vulnerability to violence; issues relating to transport, child care, attendant care; insecure housing; and more.

A number of strategies to address the barriers are discussed including the need for data collection and disaggregation; research; targeted gender-specific measures to promote inclusion; and importantly, the need for capacity building of women with disabilities organisations, groups and networks in efforts to promote the social inclusion of women with disabilities.

WWDA’s Submission has been submitted to the Parliamentary Committee on Employment and Workplace Relations and will be distributed more widely in the coming weeks. A copy will also soon be made available on WWDA’s website. Please contact Carolyn at wwda@wwda.org.au if you would like more information.

4. WWDA Presentations to International Conferences

WWDA Vice-President Sue Salthouse, is currently in Canada to showcase WWDA’s work on human rights advocacy and violence prevention at two international Conferences – the Rehabilitation International 21st World Congress (Quebec City, August 25-28) and the first ever World Conference of Women’s Shelters (Alberta, September 8 – 11).

The Rehabilitation International 21st World Congress Conference will see Sue Salthouse present a paper on behalf of WWDA entitled ‘A Seat at the Table: Improving the Status of Australian Women With Disabilities through Systemic Advocacy’. This paper highlights the impact of multiple discriminations caused by the intersection of gender and disability, and looks at the systemic advocacy work of WWDA over the past decade in efforts to address these discriminations. As an adjunct to the Rehabilitation International Congress, a day is being dedicated to a Forum for Women With Disabilities. The aim of the Forum is to examine ways in which women with disabilities around the world can collaborate on the implementation of Article 6 (Women With Disabilities) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

WWDA Executive Director Carolyn Frohmader has been liaising with the Forum organisers to secure WWDA’s involvement in this Forum, and any outcomes arising from the Forum. The Disabled Women’s Network (DAWN) Canada has also sought involvement in the Forum, and has been working alongside WWDA to ensure that organisations of and for women with disabilities are included in any initiatives stemming from the Forum. Importantly, both WWDA and DAWN see this forum as a first step in developing a global network of women with disabilities. WWDA Vice-President Sue Salthouse will give a keynote address at the Forum, which takes place on August 26-27, and our next Update Report will provide a detailed report on the outcomes of the Forum.

Sue Salthouse is also representing WWDA at the first ever World Conference of Women’s Shelters, to be held in Alberta, Canada, September 8 – 11, 2008. A concurrent session of the Conference, titled ‘Forgotten Sisters: Advancing Women with Disabilities’ recognises WWDA’s recent work on the issue of violence against women with disabilities, in particular its publication ‘Forgotten Sisters: a global review of violence against women with disabilities’ (2007). Sue Salthouse is the lead presenter on this panel, which will include the Disabled Women’s Network of Canada (DAWN); and the Barbados National Organisation for the Disabled. Sue will present a paper on behalf of WWDA entitled ‘No Way Out – Nowhere to Go: global perspectives on disability, disempowerment, domestic violence and denial of refuge’. This presentation will address a range of issues, including for example, incidence, prevalence, barriers to services, key strategies to end and prevent violence against women with disabilities. Central to the presentation is the need for meaningful engagement with women with disabilities so that their experiences and their views are integral to identifying potential solutions and building successful interventions.

As reported in an earlier issue of our Update Report, WWDA wrote to the Federal and State/Territory Governments requesting funding support to enable our organisation to attend these important international conferences. WWDA gratefully acknowledges the support of the ACT, NSW and Vic governments – which each met WWDA’s funding request for $3,000.

This month, WWDA’s Resource Manual on Violence Against Women with Disabilities is being showcased as an example of good practice at a Conference on Violence Against Women with Disabilities in the European Parliament. Member of European Parliament (MEP) Eva-Britt Svensson from the GUE/NGL-Group, and Vice Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) in co-operation with Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is hosting a conference on ‘Violence Against Women with Disabilities’ on August 28, in the European Parliament. Commissioner Vladimir Spidla (Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities) will also be attending the conference, and has been provided with a copy of WWDA’s Resource Manual. Eva-Britt Svensson (MEP) has written to WWDA acknowledging the contribution of WWDA’s violence prevention work, and the importance of WWDA’s leadership in this area.

WWDA’s Conference papers 1) ‘A Seat at the Table: Improving the Status of Australian Women With Disabilities through Systemic Advocacy’ and 2) ‘No Way Out – Nowhere to Go: global perspectives on disability, disempowerment, domestic violence and denial of refuge’ will soon be made available on WWDA’s website. If anyone would like a copy emailed to them, please contact WWDA at wwda@wwda.org.au A detailed report will also be provided in the next edition of WWDA’s Update Report.

5. WWDA Telecommunications Group – Update

5.1. Phone-glish: the new WWDA dictionary of mobile communication

Phone-glish - a short dictionary of mobile communication in Australia.

Phone-glish – a short dictionary of mobile communication in Australia

For many of us the world of phones and especially of mobile phones is one of jargon, acronyms and myriad, meaningless technical specifications. With large numbers of Service Providers, some large and some small and some fly-by-nighters, the whole scenario has been dubbed ‘a confusopoly’ whereby the many companies with similar products seem as if they are intentionally confusing us as customers instead of competing on price.

Under the 8th WWDA Telecommunications Consumer Representation Grant project, WWDA was supported by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) to produce a dictionary of mobile communications, which will give you simple explanations of a large number of the telecommunications terms you will come across. Phone-glish was compiled by Louise and Bob Bannister, and contains a simple Plain English explanation of over 70 phone terms. The dictionary is in a Powerpoint format, with hot links on each page, so that you do not have to browse in alphabetical order. You can jump from link to link according to your interest or inclination. Some links take you straight to the web for information on the telecommunications Acts which give the legal structure to how it all works in Australia.

Phone-glish will be available soon on the WWDA website, but in the mean time is available on application to WWDA at wwda@wwda.org.au or ph: 03 62448288. The file size is 474KB. There is also a word document version for easy access by screen reader programs. You are free to pass Phone-glish on as you want, and use all or in part, with the usual acknowledgement of source and support from the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

5.2. WWDA Telecommunications Consumer Representation Grant 2008-09

WWDA has again been successful in obtaining a grant through the Telecommunications Consumer Representation Grants program of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE). This is WWDA’s ninth successive grant under this program. The grant enables WWDA to represent women with disabilities on various telecommunications advisory bodies, and at forums and symposiums; to have input to the development of Disability Action Plans for telecommunications organisations (such as the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman); and to give input to government discussions and formal inquiries into telecommunications policy. The WWDA Telecommunications Group is led by Sue Salthouse, and its current members are: Louise Bannister (TEDICORE Project Advisory Body), Margaret Cooper (Telstra Disability Forum), Margherita Coppolino, Joyce Deering, Leah Hobson, Jo-An Partridge and Christine Tilley.

In addition WWDA receives a smaller, but parallel grant from DBCDE to enable us to have input to telecommunications industry regulation. The industry undertakes a self-regulatory process, conducted by the Communications Alliance (CA). Telecommunications Companies (Telcos) such as Telstra, Optus, and Vodaphone are members of CA, and it has primary responsibility for the development of industry Standards, Codes and Guidelines. The CA has two consumer councils, the Consumer Council, and the Disability Council. This latter council was formerly chaired by Assoc. Professor Dr. Christopher Newell. Following his untimely death Sue Salthouse has been endorsed as Chair of the Disability Council, with Gunela Astbrink (National Coordinator of TEDICORE) as Deputy Chair.

For information about Communications Alliance see http://www.commsalliance.com.au; about TEDICORE see http://www.tedicore.org.au, and for the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman see http://www.tio.com.au. The WWDA Report to DBCDE for its 8th Telecommunications Consumer Representation Grant is available from WWDA at wwda@wwda.org.au or ph: 03 62448288.

5.3. Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is a new peak body to represent the diversity of views among consumers of telecommunications services.

This new organisation has recently been established following the election of the Rudd Government and the call from the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Senator Stephen Conroy) for a more effective consumer voice in communications. This call was echoed by consumer organisations highlighting the need for one strong, clear consumer voice to be heard. WWDA was closely involved in the establishment of ACCAN, with Sue Salthouse represented on the Consumer Representatives Working Group which worked with DBCDE representatives to bring ACCAN into being.

At the beginning of August 2008, ACCAN took its first steps with the announcement of its new Constitution and Inaugural Board. Its fledgling website is at http://www.accan.org.au. A submission for government funding in the 2009-10 budget has been made with 3-year funding cycles being proposed. Dependent on this, ACCAN will commence operations on 1st July 2009. One of ACCAN’s primary responsibilities will be to administer the Telecommunications Representation Grants program currently wholly administered by DBCDE.

The inaugural ACCAN Board of 9 Directors has excellent representation of people with disabilities and additional non-disabled people with expertise in disability issues in telecommunications. Board Directors include: Kyle Meiers (Manager of National Information and Projects with Deaf Children Australia, president of Deaf Australia); Alex Varley (Chief Executive Officer, Media Access Australia); Sue Salthouse (Vice President WWDA, Project Leader WWDA Telecommunications Group, Chair CommsAlliance Disability Council); Gerard Goggin (Professor of Digital Communication and Deputy Director Journalism & Media Research Centre, University of NSW); Holly Raiche (Executive Director ISOC-au and former CommsAlliance Secretariat to its Disability Council); and Len Bytheway (CEO ACT for Kids and former CEO of the Australian Communication Exchange). Other ACCAN Inaugural Board members are: Nan Bosler (President Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association); Aaron Davis (CEO Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network); and Catriona Lowe (Co-CEO Consumer Action Law Centre).

For more information on any aspect of ACCAN and the background to its establishment, please contact Sue Salthouse at sudata@optusnet.net.au or via WWDA at wwda@wwda.org.au

5.4. 2nd Annual Communications Consumer Dialogue Forum

The second annual Communications Consumer Dialogue was held in Sydney on 22nd July. Master of Ceremonies and Moderator was Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Speakers included Professor Daniela Stehlik (Curtin University of Technology) who took up a recurring theme of the need to build partnerships between communities and commercial concerns, such as Telcos. Jenni Mack, Chair for CHOICE Board delivered a strong lecture about low levels of compliance with consumer codes, in contrast to experiences with other industries, and particularly highlighted the finance industry. This year’s conference included a panel session and a limited workshop session – features which those community representatives present would like to see expanded. The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, the Hon. Stephen Conroy endorsed the conference with a brief address.

6. Article: Coercive Sterilisation of Romani Women in Central Europe

At the beginning of July 2008, members of the Ostrava-based Group of Women Harmed by Coercive Sterilisation and their advocates from European Roma Rights Centre and Peacework Development Fund initiated a campaign to activate the global women’s rights movement in lobbying efforts for public recognition of coerced sterilisation and compensation for Romani survivors of these practices in Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) has given its support to this campaign. Gwendolyn Albert, Director of Peacework’s Women’s Initiatives Network, recently sent WWDA a copy of an article she wrote for the Prague Post, which appeared in the July 30th, 2008 issue. The article is reproduced here.

Truth to power
By Gwendolyn Albert

Anita Danka/European Roma Rights Centre Elena Gorolova in Madrid with fellow coercive sterilization survivor Marta Pu�kov�.

Anita Danka/European Roma Rights Centre, Elena Gorolova, left, in Madrid with fellow coercive sterilization survivor Marta Pu�kov�

For the past four years, I have been involved in helping the survivors of coercive sterilization in the Czech Republic in their struggle to win government redress for the harms they suffered, and prevent such violations from ever occurring in Czech hospitals again. Together with local and international NGOs, women from the Roma community in Ostrava in particular have persevered in this quest, despite minimal resources and support. Their one ally is the Czech public defender of rights (the ombudsman), whose recommendations made in 2005 remain unimplemented by the government, despite calls by the government’s own advisory bodies to acknowledge responsibility for the violations, apologize to the victims and provide compensation.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a hotel in Vienna after a week of activism at a large women’s rights conference in Madrid. Together with some of the Ostrava survivors and staff of the European Roma Rights Centre, I had been collecting signatures on postcards calling for the Czech, Hungarian and Slovak governments to redress these violations. Curious to see the news, I turned on CNN – and almost fell over with surprise. A promo spot announced that the documentary Trial of a Child Denied, about the coercive sterilizations in the Czech Republic, would be airing as part of the network’s “World’s Untold Stories” series. Having been closely involved in assisting the producers of this film, I was overjoyed to see their work reaching the world.

But, for me, the most important development of the past four years has been the changes I’ve observed in the women themselves. Despite some rough patches – such as hostile reporting in the local press after they demonstrated outside an Ostrava hospital in 2006 – these women have overcome the stigma that anyone would feel discussing such intimate details of their lives. At a recent meeting with Roma women from Slovakia who were subjected to the same abuses, the coercive sterilization survivors from Ostrava spoke passionately about the need to somehow reach the public through the media, not just to exchange their experiences privately. Even after four years of near-silence from the government, and even though they are aware that the vast majority of them will never see their day in court, they remain fired up and eager for justice.

No one personifies this transformation quite so clearly as Elena Gorolova, who was sterilized without her informed consent in 1990, during the course of her second Caesarian section delivery. While she was in the throes of labor in the birthing room, in enormous pain and under the influence of sedatives, doctors gave her a piece of paper and told her, “Sign this or you will die.” Trusting them, she signed without even reading the document – as she later said, “At that moment, I would have signed my own death warrant.” The “consent” obtained from Elena under these circumstances is typical of the post-communist complaints registered with the ombudsman. She did not choose to be sterilized – the doctors chose for her.

Four years ago, when I first reported on these violations with Elena at the United Nations in New York City, it was her first-ever airplane trip. So we arranged for another woman offering testimony to accompany her, and show her the ropes of plane travel. This summer, for our trip to Madrid, Elena not only flew from Ostrava on her own, but was the one offering support to another first-time flier. She’s also learned to use the Internet, e-mail and Skype. The experiences of speaking in public and interacting with journalists have strengthened not only Elena’s self-confidence but that of her fellow survivors, as the Trial documentary so beautifully depicts. Elena has also recently been appointed a civil society member of the Government Council for Roma Community Affairs, an advisory body to the Czech government on Roma issues.

Only a truly strong individual could have withstood the recent experience of an online interview with readers of the Czech news server iDNES.cz, which Elena agreed to do while we were in Madrid. The chat participants, some signing themselves as “Doctor,” accused Elena and her fellow victims of various underhanded motives, primarily a desire to “get rich quick” – a laughable charge to anyone familiar with the delays of the Czech legal system, and the traditionally low amounts of compensation awarded even in exceptional cases.

The questioners seemed to have a hard time grasping that the throes of labor are not the right time to ask a woman whether she wants to be sterilized. They tried to explain to Elena that the “real problem” was her husband’s desire to have more children, not the doctor’s sterilizing her without her informed consent. They implied that having children was just a ploy for receiving social support. They asked whether she smokes, what grades she got in grammar school and why she doesn’t just adopt. They asked her why the Roma abuse welfare, why they throw it away on gambling, drugs and alcohol – racist questions that have nothing to do with human rights abuses.

As was her prerogative, she did not respond to the more ignorant questions. She answered the ones she thought worthwhile, repeating her intensely personal story for what must be the 1,000th time in an effort to make people realize what not only she, but many others, have been through. I find her stamina simply incredible.

The Czech government will take over the EU presidency in the first half of 2009, followed by Sweden. Ten years ago, that country decided to do what the Czech Republic has not yet done: acknowledge that the sterilization program it ran from the early 1930s through the 1970s led to human rights abuses, and compensate the victims of this practice. As far as I know, the recognition of this truth has not cost the Swedish government anything in terms of international prestige – indeed, it has raised the country’s standing among advocates for human rights and justice.

Thanks to the efforts of everyone who has worked on the issue of coercive sterilization in this country since the late 1970s, the Czech government now has a tremendous opportunity to join the ranks of those countries capable of such self-reflection and atonement. The question is whether Czech leaders are compassionate enough to do so.

For more information on the Campaign for Compensation for Coercively Sterilised Romani Women, go to: European Roma Rights Centre: http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2965

7. The Midnight Quiet – A Poem by Cherie Wells

a photo of a woman sitting in a wheelchair.

Long nights, sleepless nights, every night’s the same
The nothingness of the sounds in my room
Is driving me insane
If only I could fall asleep and clear out my mind
But sleep doesn’t come easily and morning is counting away the time
So I while away the midnight quiet wishing it was morn
To fall asleep when I feel it’s safe
Usually at dawn
I loathe the solitude that my life has become
Trapped in a body that is wasting away
Nothing anyone can do, nothing anyone can say
So I endure once again the midnight quiet
Waiting for sleep to release me from the pain
Of not only from the disease I have
But the pain of being alone in this silent room
This noiseless nothingness is filling up my brain
With thoughts of darkness and sorrow
Thoughts of no tomorrow
No more midnight quiet’s
No more loathing of this solitude
And sadly no more pain

8. Community and Disability Services Ministers’ Conference – Communiqu� 23 July 2008

The Community and Disability Services Ministers’ Conference (CDSMC) provides a forum for Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and the Government of New Zealand to discuss matters of mutual interest concerning community, family and disability services policy and programs. It also aims to promote a consistent and coordinated national approach to community, family and disability policy development and program implementation. Following the CDSMC in July, a Communique was released which announced a number of agreements and decisions in the areas of: Disability; Child Protection; Grandparents raising grandchildren; National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women; Adoption; Early Childhood development; Seniors; and a National Compact with the Not for Profit Sector. The communiqu� included the following information in relation to disability:

Ministers agreed to establish a new National Disability Reform Agenda that will place people with disability, their families and carers at the centre of services across Australia. Today’s agreement demonstrates a new commitment from the Commonwealth, State and Territory Government’s to stop the buck passing and deliver genuine and much needed national reform. National reform is crucial to improve the availability, flexibility, quality and consistency of services across all jurisdictions. People with disability, their families and carers are often faced with fragmented service system lacking in early intervention and often driven by crisis.

The new National Disability Reform Agenda will introduce national tools to identify service benchmarks; plan for changing needs; identify people at risk; and work towards program and service delivery consistency across jurisdictions. The National Disability Reform Agenda will drive reform in the key areas of:

  • Service Benchmarks
  • Disability Services’ Quality Standards
  • Service Planning
  • Building People Centred Service Delivery
  • Early Intervention and Prevention
  • Workforce Capacity
  • National Consistency
  • Ageing Carers

Ministers also agreed to $6.5 million to enhance the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC); including doubling the sample size which will significantly improve the collection of information in this important area. Ministers also agreed to develop a national workforce plan which will include the identification of national workforce requirements in 10 and 20 years, national career pathways for the disability sector and strategies for retention and skills growth. This work will be undertaken in line with the Commonwealth Government’s Skilling Australia Agenda.

These outcomes build on the $1.9 billion funding boost to deliver 24,500 much needed disability support places across Australia, as agreed by Disability Ministers on May 30th, 2008. The National Disability Reform Agenda will fall under the National Disability Strategy (NDS) which will set the direction of future disability policy in Australia and deliver outcome focused initiatives that respond to the needs of people with disability, their families and carers.

For a copy of the full Communiqu�, contact WWDA at wwda@wwda.org.au

9. The Pension Review

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has asked the Secretary of FaHCSIA, Dr Jeff Harmer, to complete an investigation into measures to strengthen the financial security of seniors, carers and people with disability, including a review of the Age Pension, Carer Payment and Disability Support Pension. This review is part of the Government’s wider inquiry into Australia’s Future Tax System. This information below is taken from the Executive Summary of the Pension Review Background Paper. This Background Paper is available via email from WWDA wwda@wwda.org.au or can be downloaded from http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/seniors/pension_review.htm

The Context

Many people who rely on the income support system for a basic acceptable standard of living say that they are finding it harder to make ends meet. The Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs has drawn attention to the financial circumstances of older Australians with few assets who do not own their own home, particularly singles, private renters, and those with a limited capacity to work and/or save for retirement. Many of these people have a long-term reliance on the income support system. The committee recommended the Government review the suitability of the base pension levels through economic analyses of amounts required to achieve at least a modest standard of living for retired Australians. The Government recently introduced a number of changes including one off payments to seniors and carers and an increase in the Utilities Allowance from $107 to $500 and its extension to disability support pensioners and carers in recognition of some of the pressures identified in the Senate Committee report.

Terms of reference

The Pension Review Background Paper provides information to help people understand how well the income support system works for those who rely on it. It addresses the Review’s three key terms of reference

  • the appropriate levels of income support and allowances;
  • the frequency of payments; and
  • the structure and payment of concessions or other entitlements.

Principles of the social security system

The social security system redistributes Government revenue collected in the tax system to individuals and families to increase the wellbeing of the Australian population. It is part of a broader social protection system that includes direct expenditure on services and infrastructure (such as health, education and community services), the superannuation system-which complements the Age Pension in Australia’s retirement income system-and payments, services and investment to promote the efficient and effective functioning of the Australian economy which underpins individual and national wellbeing. To work effectively, in addition to supporting a basic acceptable standard of living, taking into account prevailing community standards, the income support system has to:

  • give greater assistance to those with additional costs either through transfer payments or services;
  • target payments to those not able to fully support themselves;
  • promote participation and self-provision through services, incentives to work and save, and obligations; and
  • be sustainable.

Key Facts

Around 4.6 million Australians receive an income support payment of some kind from the Australian Government in the form of a pension or allowance (27 per cent of the population aged 15 years and over):

  • in 2006-07, Australian Government expenditure on the income support system was $71.6 billion, or around 6.8 per cent of GDP
  • 77 per cent of Australians over the age of 65 receive income support, and 17 per cent of Australians aged 16-64 years
  • 59 per cent of income support recipients are women, and 58 per cent are single.

Australia’s population is ageing: 13 per cent of Australians are over 65 years now, growing to 25 per cent by 2047. Even with the maturing of the superannuation system the proportion of retired Australians who receive the Age Pension will only decline slightly although many more will receive a part-pension in addition to their private income rather than relying upon the pension alone. Many pensioners rely on income support for long periods. The average total time on income support of current Age Pensioners is 13.1 years. For Disability Support Pensioners, it is 10.8 years and for Carer Payment recipients it is 7.6 years. In most cases, these pensioners have moved on to their current payment from another income support payment. Pension rates have grown by more than 2 per cent a year above inflation over the last decade, which is slower than average households (3 per cent), but higher than low wage earners (1 per cent). The single rate of pension is 60 per cent of the combined couple rate, lower than the average for major OECD countries (63 per cent). Most pensioners have low incomes: over half have less than $20 a week of private income, but some have higher incomes; 5 per cent have private incomes of over $400 a week.

Most pensioners do not have substantial savings or other assets: over half have assessable assets (excluding the family home) under $30,000 and 30 per cent report having bank balances of less than $1,000, but some have higher assets with 5 per cent reporting assessable assets over $250,000. Pensioners are able to receive some pension with assets up to around $1,000,000. The family home is a major form of savings for seniors: 61 per cent of Age Pensioners are homeowners; among Age Pensioner couples, 83 per cent are homeowners. Few pensioners participate in work to supplement their payments: 4 per cent of Age Pensioners, 12 per cent of Disability Support Pensioners and 11 per cent of Carer Payment recipients.


The Government has announced a public consultation process to ensure that individuals and community organisations can contribute to the work of the Pension Review. A series of public meetings in capital cities and major regional centres commenced in Darwin on 19 August. Details of meetings in other locations are available on the website at: http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/seniors/pension_review.htm

Individuals and organisations who are interested in providing their input into the Pension Review are also invited to share their views through a written submission process. Submissions can be sent by post or email. If sent by post they do not require a stamp, as long as they have the correct postal address details which are:

Pension Review Submissions
Reply Paid 7101
Canberra BC ACT 2610

The email address for submissions is: pensionreview@nationalmailing.com.au
The closing date for submissions is 26 September 2008.

10. National Rural Women’s Summit – Report

The Commonwealth Government made a pre-election commitment to improve the capacity of women from regional, rural and remote Australia to be involved in development of policy in areas which affect their lives. Early in the life of the government, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the Status of Women commenced organisation of a National Rural Women’s Summit. The Summit was a joint effort involving the Hon Tony Burke, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon Anthony Albanese, Minister of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and the Hon Kate Ellis, Minister for Youth and Sport and their respective departments; as well as the Office for Women (OfW) within the Department of Families, Housing Community Services & Indigenous Affairs. The National Rural Women’s Summit was held over three days in Canberra from 26th to 28th June 2008..

In recognition of the additional difficulties faced by women with disabilities in rural areas in accessing their communities, WWDA was invited by the OfW to have a representative on the Advisory Committee which worked with departmental personnel to organize the Summit. Women with disabilities were represented by Lori Grovenor (Women With Disabilities NSW Network, Board Director Blind Citizens Australia), Jodie Saxton (Disability Advisory Council Victoria, Koori Women Mean Business), Danielle Neves (Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association), Sharon Smith (Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association), and Sue Salthouse (WWDA Vice President & Summit Advisory Committee member). The Summit was facilitated by Anne Dunn (MIME) who is currently Chair of the Regional Women’s Advisory Committee.

More than 80 women were selected from across all States and Territories, with a range of interests including commercial, government, agriculture, small business, education, health, arts and the environment. There was a range of diversity in background, age, interests and areas of specialty. In addition to the WWDA delegation of women with disabilities, there was a significant presence of women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island background, and a number of women with Culturally and Linguistically diverse background, so that the voices of the often-overlooked marginalised women could be heard. We certainly did make a reasoned, consistent, persistent and loud contribution.

Senator Claire Moore (Senator for Queensland) and MS Kirsten Livermore MP (Member for Capricornia), were amongst speakers to the Summit and participated in workshops. Libby Lloyd, Chair, National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children outlined the coming work of the Council and the development of a national strategy on violence. Workshops were held on: Health, Education, Climate change -environment and water; Young people, girls and teenagers; Infrastructure & transport & telecommunications; Representation of women in decision making; Community building, reconciliation & new arrivals; Training and skill development; Employment and business development; and Families and children. This latter workshop looked particularly at violence in communities and domestic violence and assault. We had sufficient numbers of women with disabilities attending so that we had a representative and a strong voice in each workshop.

A chapter of the final report is devoted to issues for Women With Disabilities. The key recommendations are:

  • Include women with disabilities in all decision making processes, using positive discrimination for their appointment to representative positions on advisory boards;
  • Implement all the recommendations to the Australian Government from the UN Committee for Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, including collection and analysis of data disaggregated by disability, ethnicity, and race, improvement of access to health services for women with disabilities; and improvement of health infrastructure;
  • Improve access to support and carer services; and
  • Improve employment opportunities.

Plenary sessions were held to discuss models for enhancing the cohesiveness of rural women’s voices. The final report on the National Rural Women’s Summit has been submitted to government with recommendations for appropriate funding of rural women’s advisory bodies to government. WWDA will be keeping a watching brief over developments. WWDA personally thanks the WWDA delegates for their energetic and professional representation, and vigorous raising of issues of concern for women with disabilities in the bush. We also thank the Office for Women for their foresight in ensuring that women with disabilities were represented and look forward to ongoing involvement to represent the interests of WWDA constituents in regional, rural and remote Australia.

11. News & information from other organisations

11.1. South Australia Health Disability Action Plan 2008-2013

The Health Portfolio Executive has recently endorsed the updated SA Health Disability Action Plan 2008-2013. The purpose of the Action Plan is to provide direction for SA Health to develop strategies and targets to eliminate practices that discriminate against people with disabilities who use health services or are employed within the health system. The SA Health Disability Action Plan also provides the framework to meet the agencies obligations to the Promoting Independence Disability Action Plans for South Australia (2000), the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the SA Equal Opportunity Act 1984. Performance Agreements between the Department of Health and the Health Regions include the requirement to provide a progress report on activities to implement the Action Plan by 31 July each year.

Further information about the SA Health Disability Action Plan is available from:
Ann Pengelly, Senior Policy Officer, Policy and Legislation Unit
Ph: 08 8226 6857 Email: ann.pengelly@health.sa.gov.au
Website: www.health.sa.gov.au/Default.aspx?tabid=62

11.2. Accessible Tourism Portal Enables Sydney For All

Finding accessible tourism experiences and day trips has been a major issue for people with disabilities and those with access requirements. Many disability organizations provide member created word of mouth lists, tips and stories to help others plan their day trips and holidays more easily. However, these information systems are incomplete and problematic..

A prototype accessible tourism Web “portal”, www.sydneyforall.com aims to make it easier to find accessible destination experiences around Sydney for those with access needs. The area covered by the portal includes The Rocks, Circular Quay, The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain. It also includes the Sydney Fish Markets, a ferry trip to Manly and a visit to North Head. The information provided on the portal was gathered by people with disabilities actually experiencing the attraction and documenting that experience. Information was also provided by the attraction, many of which have implemented strategies to improve their access for people with access needs. One key feature of the portal is its ability to provide information to people with vision impairment. The portal has been developed to meet international W3C Web Accessibility standards and was independently assessed by Vision Australia to verify compliance with those standards.

As this is a test site and will be reviewed at the end of three months, feedback on the portal and suggestions are welcome. People can complete the independent survey that is linked to the portal, or you can contact either the researchers directly on accessibletourism@uts.edu.au or sydneyforall@tourism.nsw.gov.au. The long-term aim is to have a more expansive portal that will assist people to plan their holidays and will incorporate detailed transport, accommodation and disability support information.

For further information, please contact:
Dr Simon Darcy, UTS Ph: 02 9514-5100 Email: Simon.Darcy@uts.edu.au
Bruce Cameron, EAA Email: bruce_eaa@bigpond.com

11.3. New Disability Studies and Research Centre

Established in July 2008, the Disability Studies and Research Centre’s (DSARC) innovative approach to disability studies focuses on applied Australian Asia Pacific cross-disciplinary research with a critical, social perspective approach. Its creation as a university-based centre follows on the five-year record of research success established by the Disability Studies and Research Institute (DSaRI), a collaborative community/university research centre. DSARC will build on DSaRI’s record to collaborate with and contribute to the disability community’s ability to develop credible research and policy positions to engage effectively in public policy debates. The Centre is aligned with the Social Policy Research Centre, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales. Through its cross-disciplinary education program, DSARC will contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate applied degree programs and offer a mentoring program for researchers, particularly those with disability. During the year, DSARC will host forums, seminars and conferences to promote critical disability studies and stimulate discussion about disability policy and research issues.

For more information, contact:
Disability Studies and Research Centre
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, 2052, Australia
Ph: (02) 9385 6893 Email: dsarc@unsw.edu.au Web: not yet available

11.4. New Wheelchair Basketball Team – Queensland

Gold Coast Blaze, Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Assoc, Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Recreation & Sport Inc have joined together to establish social wheelchair basketball in the Gold and Tweed Coast region – ROLLERBLAZE. Wheelchair basketball is an exciting team sport for men and women, modeled on the able-bodied game of basketball. It is played on standard basketball courts with regulation height rings and backboards. The game can be played by anyone regardless of skill level. The goal is to have a regular, mixed social league (16 years and over). All equipment is available. Rollerblaze is looking for players as well as people who are interested in learning to referee, coach, be a team manager or supporter. For more information contact: Ph: 07 55 313312 (BH) or 07 55 930096 (AH) Email: rollerblaze@bigpond.com

11.5. National Leadership Achievement Award for Women

The Australian virtual Centre for Leadership for Women (CLW) at www.leadershipforwomen.com.au is inviting women who have developed self-initiated projects for the community to nominate themselves for the 2009 national Leadership Achievement Award for Women. This prestigious Award, Diamond sponsored by ANZ and Gold sponsored by Australia Post and Avril Henry Pty Ltd is open to all Australian women 18 years and above and is in its fourth round having commenced in 2006. The winner will receive prize money of $1200; two Finalists $800 each and eight short-listed candidates will receive $500 in prize money.

Applications close on 22 December 2008 with winners being announced on 8 March 2009 International Women’s Day. Please consider nominating yourself or other women who demonstrate the value of pursuing one’s vision, collaborating and valuing the contributions of others and being committed to achieving the best outcome for their community. More information about the Award, including Applications can be found at: www.leadershipforwomen.com.au.

12. Conferences

12.1. The 4Rs – Rights, Reconciliation, Respect, Responsibility – Conference

This conference brings together leading researchers, analysts, and practitioners from universities, government, and the non-government sector to explore, debate and plan for a more socially inclusive future. It is a perfect opportunity to engage with contemporary research and policy insights in fields directly relevant to your priorities, including for example: Human rights education and the debate over a Human Rights Act; Disability and social inclusion; Climate Change and Citizens’ Rights; Women and Islam in Australia; Housing and citizenship, and much more.

30 Sept – 3 October 2008
UTS Broadway Campus, Sydney
For further information and registration options, go to: www.the4rsconference.org

12.2. Arts Access Australia & DADAA Inaugural Arts and Health Conference

Arts Access Australia is the national peak body of State and Territory arts and disability organizations working to increase access and participation in the arts for the one in five Australians with a disability. The Arts Access Australia Inaugural Arts and Health Conference aims to provide a mechanism to support delegates from across the Australian and New Zealand Arts, Health and Disability sectors with access to outstanding examples of Arts and Health practices underway across the region, and results in delegates collaborating to inform the sectors national Arts and Health agendas.

Monday 15th September 2008
Venue: Association for the Blind WA, 61 Kitchner Ave, Victoria Park, Perth WA
For more information contact:
DADAA Inc: Ph: (08) 94306616 Email: arts@dadaawa.asn.au
Arts Access Australia: Ph: (02) 9518 0561 Email: ed@artsaccessaustralia.org

12.3. National Disability Advocacy Conference

The Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) will be holding its conference in partnership with the Victorian Disability Advocacy Network (VDAN) and the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU) in Melbourne. DANA’s key focus will be the formal establishment of the national network and disability advocacy sector development. DARU will be developing its sessions around improving advocacy practice. The VDAN systemic stream will focus on disability policy development.

Strengthening Disability Advocacy – National Conference 2008
Tuesday 7th – Wednesday 8th October 2008 at the Telstra Dome, Melbourne
For more information: Ph: 03 9639 5807 Fax: 03 9654 5749 Email: admin@daru.org.au Web: www.daru.org.au

13. New on the WWDA Website

Over the past two months, WWDA has continued to work on updating and enhancing the WWDA website. A large number of resource materials have been added, along with copies of WWDA’s recent Submissions to various inquiries and reviews. Examples include:

Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Shut Out, Hung Out, Left Out, Missing Out’- Response to the Australian Government’s Green Paper ‘Which Way Home? A New Approach to Homelessness’ (June 2008) Available in HTML, PDF & Word. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/subs.htm

Women and the Right to Adequate Housing in Australia: Report to the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing (2004). Written and submitted by a Coalition of Non-Government Workers, Australia. Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/housing.htm

Social Inclusion

National Disability Authority (NDA), Dublin: The Dynamics of Disability and Social Inclusion (2006) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/citizen.htm

National Disability Authority (NDA), Dublin: Disability and Social Inclusion in Ireland (2005) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/citizen.htm

Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (UK) Being and becoming: Social exclusion and the onset of disability – By Tania Burchardt (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/citizen.htm

University of Birmingham: Preventing Social Exclusion of Disabled Children and Their Families – Literature review paper produced for the National Evaluation of the Children’s Fund (2006) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/citizen.htm

Corporation for National and Community Service (USA) Inclusion – Creating an Inclusive Environment: A Handbook for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities in National and Community Service Programs (2004) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/citizen.htm

Cost of Disability
‘The Costs of Disability and the Incidence of Poverty’ – By Peter Saunders (2006). Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/employm.htm

Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘We’re women too!’ – Response to the Australian Government’s Consultation on the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children (July 2008) Available in HTML, PDF & Word. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/subs.htm

Women’s Aid (UK): ‘Making the links: Disabled women and domestic violence’ – By Gill Hague, Ravi Thiara, Audrey Mullender & Pauline Magowan (2008) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Victorian Women with Disabilities Network Advocacy Information Service: ‘A Framework for Influencing Change – Responding to Violence against Women with Disabilities 2007-2009’ Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

‘Violence and abuse against women with disabilities in Malawi’ – By Marit Hoem Kvam and Stine Hellum Braathen (2006) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs: ‘Sexual Assault Service Delivery Implications For People With Disabilities’ (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs: Creating Accessible Sexual Assault Services for People With Disabilities (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs: ‘Proceedings Report of the Community Voices Partners’ Meetings on Ending Violence Against Women With Disabilities’ (2004) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Allies for Women in Need of Services (USA): ‘Violence Against Women with Disabilities – A study of sexual assault and domestic violence among women in Virginia who have mental health and/or cognitive disabilities’ (2004) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: ‘Increasing Agency Accessibility for People With Disabilities – Domestic Violence Agency Self-Assessment Guide’ (2004) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: ‘Model Protocol on Safety Planning for Domestic Violence Victims With Disabilities’ (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: ‘Model Protocol on Screening Practices for Domestic Violence Victims With Disabilities’ (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: ‘Enough and yet not Enough: An Educational Resource Manual On Domestic Violence Advocacy For Persons With Disabilities In Washington State’ (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

‘The health impact of violence: A disability perspective’ – By Chris Jennings (2004) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

‘Violence and Women with a Disability Break Down the Barriers’ – Paper presented at the 3rd National Homelessness Conference – By Chris Jennings (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

‘Family Violence & Sexual Assault: A Criminal Justice Response for Women with Disabilities’ – By Chris Jennings (2005) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health: ‘Violence and Trauma in the Lives of Women with Serious Mental Illness’ – By Marina Morrow (2002) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

‘Triple Disadvantage: Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ – Report prepared by Chris Jennings for the Violence Against Women with Disabilities Project (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) – Relationships Booklet Available in HTML & PDF. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Violence Against Women with Disabilities Project of Wisconsin: ‘Cross Training Workbook: Working Together to End Violence Against Women With Disabilities in Wisconsin’ (2004) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/viol.htm

Human Rights
The Harvard Project on Disability We Have Human Rights: A human rights handbook for people with developmental disabilities (2008) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/unhrt.htm

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights From Exclusion to Equality: Realizing the rights of persons with disabilities. Handbook for Parliamentarians on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (2007) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/unhrt.htm

University of Minnesota Human Rights Resource Center Human Rights. YES! Action and Advocacy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/unhrt.htm

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Human Rights: A Handbook For Parliamentarians (2005) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/unhrt.htm

Inter-American Institute for Human Rights (IIHR) & the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: A Manual for Prevention (2005) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/unhrt.htm

United Nations Inter-Parliamentary Union The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol Handbook for Parliamentarians (2003) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/unhrt.htm

British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health: The Challenges of Change – The Midlife Health Needs of Women With Disabilities – By Marina Morrow with the Midlife Health Needs of Women with Disabilities Advisory Committee (2000) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/health.htm

Gender & Disability – General ‘Chartbook on Women and Disability in the United States’ – by L. Jans & S. Stoddard (1999) Available in PDF only. Go to: http://www.wwda.org.au/gendis.htm

14. Resources – Books, Reports, Websites

picture of the cover of the Violence Resource Manual

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) Resource Manual on Violence Against Women With Disabilities

This Manual is made up of four Books, and Audio, e-text & Large Print PDF versions of the Books are included on a CD-ROM which accompanies the Manual. Braille and DAISY versions are also available on request. Cost: $22.00 (within Australia). Overseas orders: price range between $50.00 AUD – $70.00 AUD depending on postal Zone.

Order Forms and information about the Manual are available on the WWDA website: www.wwda.org.au/vrm2007.htm

Gender equality: What matters to Australian women and men. The Listening Tour Community Report

picture of the cover of the Listening Tour Community Report

This is the report of Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, who undertook a national ‘Listening Tour’ in late 2007. Over 1,000 people took part in the 90 events held across Australia. More people participated through the Listening Tour blog. The Tour identified critical areas to focus efforts to achieve equality between women and men in Australia, including:

  • economic independence for women;
  • balancing work and family balance across the life;
  • cycle, and;
  • freedom from discrimination, harassment and violence.

The report is free and is available from WWDA via email at wwda@wwda.org.au or can be downloaded from: www.hreoc.gov.au/listeningtour/launch/index.html

The Disabled Writers’ Association

The Disabled Writers’ Association is a new, free service developed by author Robert N Stephenson. Based in Adelaide South Australia Robert will use his skills as a professional writer (author), editor, publisher and professional writing tutor to assist writers with a disability to develop their skills within a framework that suits their individual needs. Go to: www.disabledwriters.com

The Circle of Empowerment, Twenty-five Years of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (2007)

picture of the cover of the Circle of Empowerment book

This book is a collection of essays and personal reflections from individuals who have served on the CEDAW Committee. It introduces readers to the issues and activism that surround the convention as one of the most important human rights tools ever created. The Circle of Empowerment reveals the profound impact the convention has had on women’s lives around the world. With examples and moving reminiscences from Japan to Tunisia to the Caribbean and beyond, this readable collection addresses CEDAW’s impact on women in Islam, labor markets, migration, violence against women, trafficking, women in politics, and more. Available in hardcover and paperback from www.amazon.com or through www.booktopia.com.au in Australia.

Women and Violence By Barry Levy

Release date November 2008

picture of the cover of the book Women and Violence

Women and Violence is a comprehensive look at the issue of violence against women and its many appearances, causes, costs and consequences. Understanding that personal values, beliefs and environment affect an individual’s response to-and acknowledgement of-violence against women, this book addresses topics such as global perspectives on violence, controversies and debates, and social change strategies and activism. Available from www.amazon.com or through www.booktopia.com.au in Australia.

CASE – Community Lists

CommunityLists is an email mailing list service for the use of Australian non-profit community organisations. Lists are available to all members of Computing Assistance Support & Education (CASE). CASE (www.case.org.au) is a non-profit organisation that was formed to assist Australian community organisations in making better use of information technology. It accomplishes this through education, advocacy and technical support relevant to the specific needs of the community services sector.


15. WWDA Management Committee 2008-2009

Earlier this year WWDA called for nominations for the vacant positions on its Management Committee following the completion of several members terms of office. The required number of nominations were received thereby eliminating the need for a postal ballot. Executive positions will be elected following the Annual General Meeting in October. The WWDA Management Committee members for 2008-2009 are:
Annie Parkinson
Sue Salthouse
Pamela Menere
Vicki Alipasinopoulos
Josephine Dixon
Kate List
Helen Meekosha
Samantha Jenkinson
Margie Charlesworth
Sheila King
Rayna Lamb

15. WWDA Management Committee 2008-2009

The success of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) relies heavily on the participation and goodwill of our members. We are always seeking women with disabilities who would like to represent WWDA at government consultations, workshops, forums and committees, as well as helping us in other ways such as commenting on WWDA documents and reports; presenting papers at Conferences; writing articles for our website, becoming members of our Management Committee and so on. WWDA is a Public Benevolent Institution, which means that donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Remember, becoming a financial member of WWDA entitles you to nominate for the Management Committee when vacancies arise and/or vote at annual elections.

WWDA’s Membership Form is available from the WWDA website www.wwda.org.au/member.htm or by contacting WWDA.