Spotlight on Australia’s performance on International Day of People with Disability

Spotlight on Australia’s performance on International Day of People with Disability

The recent Disability Royal Commission findings have revealed shocking failings, RMIT experts say, affirming the need for action as we mark International Day of People with Disability.

The ongoing Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability recently reported on the experiences of people with disability during the pandemic.

These findings highlight a persistent failure to recognise people with disabilities as equal members of the community, according to Graduate School of Business and Law Professor Penelope Weller.

She points to Australia’s pledge as party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to uphold the rights and dignity of people with disabilities, saying this has not been the case.

She says while "article 11 of the Convention requires state parties to ensure the safety of people with disabilities in situations of risk, little thought was given to how the pandemic would affect people with disabilities, or to what measures should be put in place to ensure that people with disabilities were safe.”

She calls on Australia to live up to its pledge.

“The Convention provides a solution to the marginalisation of people with disability beyond the collection of data, which is the inclusion of people with disabilities in decision making at all times, encapsulated in the slogan ‘Nothing about us without us’,” she affirms.

School kid


Education is another area where people with disability experience exclusion, according to Education expert Dr David Armstrong.

He points to the recent Disability Royal Commission hearings, which he says reveal the extent to which many schools need to change culture and attitudes to ensure they're inclusive.

“We hear shocking reports of how many students with disability end up out of the education system, excluded due to a one-size-fits all approach,” he says.

Armstrong provided the Commission with a detailed plan setting out how schools can address this challenge based on ‘what works’ according to the research.

He recommends better support for students who may have previously been ineligible for targeted assistance – such as those with autism, dyslexia or complex behaviours.

“Investment in the inclusion of kids with disability is an investment in the quality of schools,” Armstrong avows, adding “it should be at the forefront of efforts to modernise Australia’s education system and meet international commitments to an inclusive school system.” 


Story: Diana Robertson


  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

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