Submission: List of Issues to be Adopted During the 18th Session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) has prepared a proposed List of Issues to be adopted at the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 18th session (14th August to 1st September 2018), in respect to Australia’s compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The extensive submission includes updates on Australia’s compliance with the Convention and suggested review questions that the Committee should ask the Australian Government.

The submission provides brief updates on Australia’s progress toward implementing the Convention. In addition to the proposed review questions, we have included extensive explanatory notes at the end of the document.

At the link below we have also included some information about what a List of Issues submission is and what the next steps are.

Access the submission at the DPO Australia website:


  • WWDA, along with almost 50 other Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) contributed a submission to the United Nations’ review of Australia’s implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. WWDA welcomed the UN Committee recommendation that the Australian government call an immediate Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability. Access the joint NGO media release & Concluding Observations:
  • WWDA Management Committee member, Jess White, represented WWDA at the Office for Women and National Women’s Alliance forum.
  • WWDA is continuing to work with our DPO Australia colleagues on priorities for the second half of the year.

Have Your Say

Human Rights Consultation

The Australian Human Rights Commission is consulting with Civil Society and individuals on the domestic implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

On 9 February 2017, the Australian Government announced it intends to ratify the OPCAT by December 2017.

While the Government has outlined some of the key features of how it intends the OPCAT to operate in Australia, there remain many details still to be determined. Accordingly, the Commission is now conducting a consultation process with civil society to ascertain their views on the design and implementation of the OPCAT.

The Commission is seeking input from individuals and organisations through written submissions and a series of roundtables.

Find out more at the Commission’s website.

From Our Members

TEDx Talk: Sarah Houbolt on Accessibility

‘It was the most profound moment of vulnerability that led to insights and affirmation about myself, and the world.’

Sarah Houbolt, a circus and physical theatre performer, arts manager, diversity advocate and WWDA member, gave a talk at the recent TEDx Sydney on accessibility and universal design.

In the 10 minute talk, Sarah explores the need for accessibility solutions that “focus on fixing our environments first, rather than ‘fixing’ our bodily experiences of the world”. Sarah argues that when we engage in truly universal design, innovation that benefits all people, is sure to follow.

Watch and listen to Sarah’s talk below or at the following link:

Sarah’s profile on LinkedIn:

Film: Defiant Lives

‘Defiant Lives is a triumphant film full of extraordinary characters who put their lives on the line to create a better and very different world…’

Defiant Lives is a new Australian film by Sarah Barton that explores the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in the Australia, Britain and the United States.

‘Featuring exclusive interviews with elders (some now deceased) who’ve led the movement over the past five decades, the film weaves together never-before-seen archival footage with the often-confronting personal stories of disabled men and women as they moved from being warehoused in institutions to fighting for independence and control over their lives. Once freed from their imprisonment, disabled men and women took on the big charities, criticising the use of celebrities to beg on their behalf. They chained themselves to public transport around the world and demanded access “to boldly go where everyone else has gone before”; and they lobbied for support to live ordinary lives in the community with family, lovers and friends.’

Defiant Lives will be screening in limited cinemas across Australia from July. For more information and tickets, visit:

Book: Marathon Wheeler, Living with Physical Disability

Heather Coombes has written a memoir on her experience as an Australian woman with a disability who uses a wheelchair. In the book, Marathon wheeler: living with physical disability, Heather explores her life story and reflections from birth to retirement, and ideas about living well with physical disability – emotionally and physically. In the book, Heather draws on her Christian faith and experience as an ordained Uniting Church minister.

You can read and excerpt and purchase the book from her website ($US) and on Booktopia in Australia. Heather is also on Facebook.

Disability News

Fears disability advocacy could be ‘thrown out’ in transition to NDIS in regional NSW (ABC News)

Government Expands NDIS Advisory Board (Pro Bono Australia)

Senate Rejects Changes to Disability Support Pension (Pro Bono Australia)

What Nujeen Mustafa did next: ‘As a refugee I feel I’m in a constant test’ (The Guardian)