Summaries from the conference sessions are now available on this site through the program page and include all the multi-media presentations and links to resources relating to the panel discussions. Click the relevant session title for full summary.
It’s a wrap
As expected, disability advocates were interested in hearing from a range of perspectives and not backwards in confronting the issues that bring to light the glaring inequality that people with disability face on a daily basis.
The Rights Retrospective set the stage by giving homage to those advocates and campaigns that make governments, employers, educators and service providers realise that people with disability are human beings who have the same rights as everyone else. This theme was further under pinned by many of the esteemed speakers on day 2. We really did put rights on centre stage!
DARU new video ‘Rights Under The UN Convention’ was launched to great acclaim from conference participants. It really is beautiful so enjoy….
This video was produced by Sarah Barton’s production company, fertile Films.
Setting the scene
Click flyer image to download PDF
It’s a huge year for people with disability coming to terms with the impact of the NDIS roll out across Australia. This conference is uniquely positioned to consider the crucial role of disability advocacy in safeguarding the rights of people with disability through this biggest reform since Medicare.
We’re Putting rights centre stage with sessions on promoting rights into the future, the role of advocacy in safeguarding against abuse and neglect, and applying a human rights-based approach to consumer-directed service delivery. Speakers and panelists will provide a range of perspectives gained from lived experience, evidence based research and applied practice in disability advocacy.
Rights Retrospective is the pre-conference event that celebrates the 30-year anniversary of funded disability advocacy in Australia. This multimedia session will take us through the history of the disability rights movement globally, and remind us of the local campaigns and personalities that laid the foundation for a future where rights are respected for all.
This conference is for anyone who is interested in strengthening and upholding the rights of people with disability. This includes disability advocates, self advocates, people with disability, legal workers, government and non government officers, community workers and allied health professionals.
This conference is hosted by Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU) with the support of a conference planning committee:
Melissa Coe, DARU
Natasha Brake, DARU
Melanie Muir, Disability Advocacy Victoria
Sue Smith, Self Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU)
Mary Sayers, Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS)
Nick Lawler, representing the Victorian Regional Advocacy Network (VicRAN)
Maureen D’Arcy, representing the Local Government Disability Planners Network
Peta Ferguson, Brain Injury Matters (representing the consumer voice)
Keep up to date with all the latest conference news on Twitter:
Last chance to register for Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference 2016!
PostedAugust 21, 2016
The stage is set and ticket sales have been extended because we really don’t want you to miss out. You now have until Friday 26 August to register.
There are so many wonderful speakers coming to the main day, Friday 2 September, where we will be Putting rights centre stage and we can’t wait for you to meet them all and hear a wide range of perspectives on topics that are close to the hearts of many advocates. It’s a beautiful space and a day out from the usual grind to network and get some fresh ideas might be just the ticket you need!
If a whole day of speakers seems overwhelming then join us for the Rights Retrospective, a rare opportunity for advocates to celebrate. It’s a very special pre-conference afternoon on Thursday 1 September with covers performed by The Rights Tough, our in-house live band. You’ll come away with a new found respect for those advocates and activists who have been trail blazing for decades and make you feel proud of the work that you are doing to take the fight for equality into the future. It’s FREE! and includes afternoon tea.
Of course, we’d love to welcome you on both days. For full details of tickets and inclusions, visit the conference website’s ticket page.
If you need assistance to get into the building, or information on where to go, keep your eyes out for our amazing team of volunteers wearing these red vests. They will assist you on the day getting from your taxi or the entrance of the NAB building to the conference rooms and registration desk.
Find out what the future of disability advocacy promotion might llook like in the future at the Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference on 2 September.
How do advocates bring issues to the notice of the general public and decision makers now that the punk and union movements are less likely to get behind causes and organising mass rallies? Are the social media platforms and online petitions effective enough to drive the change we need?
Dr George Taleporos will explore these questions and lead a panel discussion with guests:
Mary Mallett, CEO of *Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA)
Jax (Jacki) Brown, Disability Activist and Performer
Susan Arthur, Self Advocate and President of Reinforce
Isabelle Oderberg, Social Media Strategist at Australia Red Cross.
Register Now and get your free ticket to the Rights Retrospective while you’re there.
This session at the Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference will look at applying human rights in person centered service delivery- What role can or should disability advocacy play in the future landscape of consumer directed service delivery? How do we make sure that mainstream services are made accessible to people with disability and what does best practice look like?
We are honored to have Robyn Gaile, the previous DARU Coordinator, and current National Manager of Innovative Service Delivery at AFDO facilitating a panel conversation with:
Louise Glanville, Deputy CEO, Stakeholder Relations, NDIA
Daniel Leighton, CEO of Inclusion Melbourne
Christina Ryan, CEO of Advocacy For Inclusion
Leonie Dillon, Community Development Project Officer, Barwon Disability Resource Council.
It’s a topic well worth discussing and with this great line-up you’re guaranteed a broad perspective of views and ideas.
We are thrilled that Sarah Barton has agreed to be the MC for our special Rights Retrospective event.
Sarah Barton has worked mainly as a documentary writer and director since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television in 1992. She is probably best known for her work with No Limits, an award winning community television series (2003),which looks at living life to the fullest with a disability. Sarah was the founding series producer of this long running series which still screens on community television stations across Australia.
Steve Hurd, Councillor for the ward of Glenferrie, Boroondarra City Council
Kairsty Wilson, Human Rights lawyer and disability advocate, AED Legal Centre
This special multi-media event marks the 30th anniversary of funded disability advocacy in Victoria. We will be reminded of the campaigns and personalities that have been telling the story of disability advocacy, how integral these were in building a rich history, and how this strong foundation is what we build on to create a future where rights are respected for all. Continue reading →
How do advocates get issues on the public agenda now? How do we best connect with allies, decision-makers and the general public? Do we need to shift our campaigns online, or are those mass rallies that served us so well in the past still effective enough to drive change?
What role can or should disability advocacy play in a landscape of person-centred service delivery? How do we make sure that mainstream services are accessible to people with disability? What will best practice look like?
Therese Sands, Director, Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia),
How can we protect the most vulnerable from abuse and neglect? Is the time we are spending on getting quality assurance processes right at the expense of the needs and human rights of people with disability? The panellists drew on the recent glut of inquiries, reviews and investigations to discuss the role of advocacy in … Continue reading →
Alastair McEwin, Disability Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
Sharon Granek, Program Manager- Womens Empowerment Program, Women with Disabilities Victoria
Catherine Dixon, Director of the Commissioner's Office at Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
Legal instruments such as the Disability Discrimination Act, Victorian Disability Act, Equal Opportunity Act, the State Disability Plan and the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities are often applied by dvocates to defend the rights of people with disability. The discussion focused on how these instruments might work in an NDIS environment and what … Continue reading →
Like Rage on ABC, this is our very own music video show featuring clips that will empower and inspire you. This year’s collection has a distinctive retro feel to follow on from the pre-conference event and will remind us that rights are at the heart of issues that affect all human beings – even those with disability, big hair or a questionable fashion sense! Continue reading →
This mini exhibition reflects the determination of self advocacy groups and their allies to fight for self determination, equal rights and systemic change. The collection of posters and films will be on show for both days of the conference. Continue reading →
Alastair’s background is in arts, law and business administration. Alastair’s previous roles include CEO of People with Disability Australia and Manager of the Australian Centre for Disability Law. He is currently President of the Deaf Society of NSW and Chairperson of the NSW Disability Council, the official advisory board to the NSW Government on disability issues. Continue reading →
Catherine Dixon has 17 years’ experience in legal, policy and management roles in both the public and private sector, with a focus on anti-discrimination law and human rights issues. Ms Dixon has also worked as Special Counsel, Human Rights and Managing Principal Solicitor, Human Rights in the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, Manager Human Rights Unit within the Department of Justice, and Manager Legal Policy and Services with the Department for Victorian Communities – Aboriginal Affairs Victoria. Continue reading →
Christina Ryan is a non-profit governance & management specialist with particular expertise in embedding ethical frameworks across organisational structures & culture. She provides peer consultancy on change management, human rights, human resources, good practice governance & management, and recruiting & retaining people with disabilities. Continue reading →
Colin is passionate about improving the lives of people living in Community Residential Units (CRU) and has committed his life to fighting for the rights of people with a disability. Continue reading →
Inclusion Melbourne is a day support provider that began the journey to personalised services in 1990. The centre was sold in 2008 and now delivers all supports within the community.
Prior to working at Inclusion Melbourne he held a range of roles across the community and disability sector including in government, academia and in NFPs. He has a deep commitment in ensuring the inclusion of people with an intellectual disability, sustaining a healthy and vibrant charitable community support sector and the utilisation of evidence based practices. Continue reading →
David Brant has been a person with disability since 2000 when he lost most of his sight. Since then David has worked as an advocate for systemic disability issues – playing a lead role in the successful campaign to have the Victorian Government reinstate the M40 taxi card. He continues to campaign on disability public … Continue reading →
Deborah was raised in Melbourne where she studied law at Monash University. She moved to Switzerland in 1989 and was instrumental in raising standards in the investment management industry before moving to London in 1998 to take up the Chief Executive position with the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation. In 2001, she joined the UK Police Complaints Authority, and in 2004 became a Commissioner with the new Independent Police Complaints Commission of England and Wales (IPCC).
Deborah is committed to ensuring fair and reasonable decision making in the Victorian public sector, and to improving public administration. She holds a firm belief in public sector integrity and the protection of human rights. Continue reading →
Dr George Taleporos has worked in this role since YDAS was established in 2006. He has a PhD in Psychology and an Honours degree in Sociology. George has 15 years of experience in disability advocacy, youth engagement, and disability service reform. George’s policy work has covered a range of areas including DHS standards, capacity building … Continue reading →
Patsie has undertaken research in disability advocacy, self advocacy, sexuality and relationships and violence and abuse prevention. Her current research is looking at inclusion and access for women and girls with disabilities in violence and abuse response services across Australia. Continue reading →
Emma also has an extensive background in the public sector and in workforce and education issues, having worked as a Victorian policy adviser, a teacher, and in a range of industrial and training roles at the Victorian Independent Education Union and the Finance Sector Union.
Emma’s qualifications include a Masters in Industrial and Employee Relations, a Graduate Diploma of Education and a Bachelor of Arts. Continue reading →
Esther Harris has been a disability advocate for more than 20 years, beginning with her work with the State School Parent Organisation, now known as Parents Victoria. It was from there that her passionate interest and commitment to the rights of all children in education grew. Continue reading →
After several years working as a journalist in London at Dow Jones and Reuters, Isabelle joined Melbourne’s Herald Sun as deputy business editor and Australia’s first social media editor. After 18 months she was promoted to national social media editor for News Corp Australia and was responsible for advising social media strategy, development, training, policy creation, implementation and branding across News Corp’s many local newsrooms.
Today she works in the not-for-profit sector in social media management, communications and high-level strategy. She has experience in social media training, management, strategy formulation and implementation, communications, crisis management and media relations and training. Continue reading →
Jax Jacki Brown is a disability & queer rights activist, writer, spoken-word performer, public speaker and the co-producer of Quippings: Disability Unleashed, a disability performance troupe in Melbourne. She is a graduate of Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies and Communication, where she focused on disability and LGBTI/queer studies, providing a sound academic framework to affirm and explore her commitment to disability and social justice issues. Continue reading →
In her current role at Yooralla, Jeanette focuses on the rights & empowerment, participation and personal development of people with disabilities.
Jeanette was the Co-founder and Chairperson of DARE (Disability Action Rights & Equality), Co-founder & Coordinator of the Parents with a Disability Community Network and has developed several of Yooralla’s Peer Support and Self-Advocacy Programs. Continue reading →
Julie is also the Manager of the Disability Discrimination Legal Service Inc (DDLS). DDLS is a statewide independent community legal centre that specialises in disability discrimination legal matters. It provides free legal services, works towards the eradication of disability discrimination, and facilitates and promotes justice for people with disability through community legal education sessions. Continue reading →
The greatest endeavour and achievement during Kairsty’s leadership at AED has been her advocacy to improve the wages and working conditions for people with disability working in business services (now known as Australian Disability Enterprises). The rulings by the Federal and High Court in favour of two employees with an intellectual disability supported by Kairsty represent an historic victory likely to have far-reaching implications for the 20,000 employees with disability working in Australian Disability Enterprises across Australia. Continue reading →
Lauren was launched into the world of disability after losing her sight in a car accident in 2006. Since this time she has gone on to hold several roles in the disability sector, including National Policy Officer for Blind Citizens Australia and Advisor to the Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Continue reading →
Leonie’s backgroun is in the area of early childhood development, family services and community development. She believes that each individual, family and community has the right to develop their life and community to the best potential that they need, desire and want. Continue reading →
Elected as the Labor Member for Pascoe Vale in 2014, Lizzie is Chair of the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee in the Parliament of Victoria. The role of the committee is to compare proposed legislation against the Victorian Charter of Human Rights. Prior to election Lizzie was a Senior Officer for the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria. Continue reading →
Louise brings a vast range of state and federal public sector experience to her current role having previously held Senior Executive roles at the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department and the Victorian Department of Justice. Louise has also held positions in academia, the private sector and ministerial offices. Continue reading →
The ALP has been in Maree’s blood for generations. She joined the party on the eve of the 1999 election, frustrated with Kennett’s neglect of regional Victoria. Serving as an Electorate Officer to the former Member for Bendigo West,Bob Cameron, allowed Maree to get to know the Bendigo West community. This was complemented by her … Continue reading →
DANA is the Canberra based national peak body for independent disability advocacy in Australia. DANA supports organisations in every state and territory that work to promote and advocate for the rights of people with disability. With the advent of the NDIS independent advocacy will be even more important in assisting people to have true choice … Continue reading →
Apart from paulines roll as an individual advocate, her systemic advocacy has achieve such goals as the closure of institutions and community supported accommodation for all. Another goal has been the inclusion in law of residential rights for people with a disability living in shared supported accommodation and the separation of support services from housing provision. This will finally become national policy under the NDIS. Continue reading →
Professor Keith R. McVilly PhD is a Registered Clinical Psychologist and the Foundation Professorial Fellow for Disability & Social Inclusion, in the School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. His work addresses the translation of research into policy and practice, with a focus on promoting the well-being and community inclusion of people … Continue reading →
Robyn has over 20 years experience delivering education,employment and training services for people with a disability. She is a former Executive Officer of Blind Citizens Australia, the national consumer representative organisation of and for people who are blind or vision impaired. Prior to joining AFDO, Robyn was Coordinator of the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU), which developed and provided information and resources to support the work of funded independent disability advocacy in Victoria. She has just completed her term of office on the Victorian Disability Advisory Council and is currently a member of the City of Melbourne disability advisory committee built environment andsocial inclusion working group. Continue reading →
Sarah Barton has worked mainly as a documentary writer and director since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television in 1992. She is probably best known for her work with No Limits, an award winning community television series (2003),which looks at living life to the fullest with a disability. Sarah was the founding series producer of this long running series which still screens on community television stations across Australia. Continue reading →
Sharon Granek is the program manager of the Empowering Women’s Program at Women with Disabilities Victoria – WDV. She has worked for many years in community development in various capacities but always in the field of diversity including case management, residential and respite care, policy development, housing, education, training and employment, and advocacy. Sharon helped to … Continue reading →
Steve went to a mainstream kinder and loved it, then he went to the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind and lived there from age 4 and one half. He learned what institutionalisation was.
Although some teachers wanted him to leave school at 15, saying a sheltered workshop would be “your contribution to the community”, he went on to get the highest humanities hsc score ever achieved by a vision impaired person.
In 1985 with 3 others he formed the group PENI people for equality not institutionalization to make good on his earlier promice to rise up. PENI did many protests against disability institutions. Continue reading →
Sue works at SARU and enjoys sharing advice and ideas gained from her thirty years’ experience in self advocacy and community development. She is currently the chairperson of start Community Art and has helped manage community arts projects in partnership with community organisations including Compassionate Friends, Self Help Addiction Resource Centre, Warrior Women and Reinforce. … Continue reading →
Susan is 33 years old and passionate about helping people with disabilities. She is currently a volunteer as a self-advocate with Reinforce where she is in her second year as elected President. Her passion is to make the world a better place for parents with intellectual disabilities and hopes that one day parents with I.D. can keep their children with the support they need. Her passion grew from her grandmother who also was very passionate about people with disabilities not living in institutions and all the other areas of human rights. Susan also runs a new group called The Powerful Parents Self Advocacy Group. Continue reading →
The Rights Tough come highly credentialed with two band members having an acquired permanent disability and three members having over 20 years experience each working in the disability sector. All five members are locally accomplished musicians playing in groups or as solo artists in a variety of styles including punk pop, rock, jazz, folk and reggae. Continue reading →
Therese has a Master of Human Rights Law and Policy, and won the University of NSW Law School Public Defender’s Prize in 2012. She has a strong commitment to organisations constituted and led by people with disability, and is a Life Member of People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and a member of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA). Continue reading →
Trevor is passionate about protecting and enhancing the human rights of people with disabilities having had first hand personal experience of disability discrimination in Australia on many occasions. He uses his lived experience in his current role, leading a team of 9 disability advocates to protect the rights of people with disability on a range of issues.
Trevor is a man wearing many hats and holds several positions including Chairperson of Disabled People’s International (DPI) Asia Pacific Region and member of the DPI World Executive, Chairperson and President of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO), the peak body representing people with disability in Australia and is a current member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s Disability Reference Group after previously serving 4 years as the Co- Continue reading →
Tricia is proud to be an Australian with a disability and uses her disability as a tool to bring about better outcomes for Australians with disabilities through her consultancy, public speaking, mentoring and coaching engagements. Tricia has an undergraduate degree majoring in anthropology and criminology, and is an independent, experienced presenter in merit based employment in the not for profit, government and for profit sectors. Continue reading →
Speakers are still being confirmed so keep an eye on this page for the latest line-up.
The Hall @ NAB
700 Bourke Street, Docklands
National Australia Bank have created a hub in Melbourne’s CBD with a range of meeting rooms and technologies available to NAB customers in a modern, architecturally interesting building.
The building design incorporates access features including talking lifts with tactile buttons, multiple accessible toilets on the same level as The Hall and safe taxi drop off and pick up point. Being located right next to Southern Cross station with entrance directly from the Bourke Street concourse further adds to the access credentials.
These facilities are offered to NAB not-for-profit customers free of charge. DARU is pleased to take advantage of this offer and we look forward to welcoming you here in September.
The Hall is located on level 3. There are two main entrances:
Bourke Street concourse (the pedestrian bridge extension of Bourke Street) – level 2
Taxi drop off – level P1 (see taxi information below for details)
Volunteers will be on hand to greet and direct you at both entrances. They will be wearing our striking, bright red conference vests so it will be hard to miss them! Ask them for assistance and directions if needed.
Southern Cross Station is the nearest station which is very convenient as most metropolitan lines, and all regional lines, go through Southern Cross.
Coming from a train platform at Southern Cross Station:
Head to the northern end of the platform (the Etihad stadium end).
Take the lift up to the Bourke Street concourse.
Once you reach the concourse, turn left.
You should see the NAB building almost immediately as it is the first building on the right over the tracks. Once inside the very impressive atrium, take the escalator directly in front of you, or the lift on the right, up one level to The Hall.
Trams that stop at Southern Cross station include:
Spencer Street routes – 12, 48, 75, 96, 109 & City Circle
Collins Street routes – 11, 12, 42 & 109
Bourke Street routes – 86 & 96
NAB 700 has a taxi drop off point at 700 Bourke Street which is located opposite the Channel Nine studios. The taxi rank located outside Platform 28 night club can also be used as a drop off point. The Platform 23 rank is recommended as the pick up point when booking taxis for return journeys home.
Getting to NAB from the Platform 23 rank:
Cross at the pedestrian lights.
Turn right and follow the footpath to the NAB entrance. You have arrived at level P1.
Go to level 3 using either the lift or escalator.
On level 3, The Hall is located to the right of the escalator.
Etihad Stadium’s car park provides 24-hour security and surveillance seven days a week. The fully covered and underground facility is located only a short walking distance from NAB.
Delegates can take advantage of the $18 early bird rate on 2 September (enter before 9:30am and exit between 1:30pm & 8pm). Visit the website for more rate information or to book your space in advance online: http://etihadstadium.com.au/car-park-options/
Note: the event is only applicable for events held at the stadium.
This conference has previously run a two day program every 2 years. However, your feedback suggested that it was a huge commitment for small advocacy organisations to release staff for two days together. So from this year forward, we will change the format to a one day program every year. The added advantage of the new format is that we can keep the cost down.
Description of inclusions
To counter the disappointment of a reduced program, we’re putting on a complimentary pre-conference event the day before. This is Rights Retrospective, a two hour multi-media presentation showcasing the campaigns and personalities over the past 30 years of disability advocacy. Afternoon tea will be provided.
Purchasing a ticket for the main conference does not automatically give you entry to Rights Retrospective. You need to register for each event separately.
The ticket for the main program, Putting rights centre stage, includes:
entry to all sessions
tea and coffee all day
morning tea and afternoon tea
This conference is fully inclusive and we are committed to meet all access requirements for participants with disability. There will be Auslan platform interpreters for all sessions. The registration form has an access requirement section where you can let us know what you need including:
Tactile Auslan interpreters
Note: If you do require attendant care, register yourself and then contact DARU and we will manually process a ticket for your support person.
Tickets are inclusive of GST and are non-refundable. Purchased tickets can, however, be transferred to another person. To make changes to a purchased ticket or to arrange attendant care needs, contact Natasha Brake at DARU:
T: (03) 9639 5807
Putting rights centre stage
Entry to full day main conference program on 2 Sep 2016 for organisations and individuals.
1 April 2016 - 26 August 2016
Putting rights centre stage - concession
Entry to full day main conference program on 2 Sep 2016. For DSP recipients.
1 April 2016 - 26 August 2016
Entry for pre-conference event 1:30-3:30pm on 1 Sep 2016.
This conference takes place at a time of great change and importance. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is being rolled out, with launch sites operating amid much political, policy and practical uncertainty. The 2013-2016 Victorian state disability plan has been in place for a year. Read more >