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New reports provide historic insights of disability in Australia

a blind person walking in the street

The Royal Commission publishes two new reports providing historic insights into the experiences of persons with disabilities in Australia.

Disability in Australia – Shadows, struggles and successes provides an account of the social and cultural aspects of the history of disability in Australia. Agents of our own Destiny – Activism and the road to the Disability Royal Commission details the emergence of the disability rights movement and charts the history of disability activism and advocacy.

Read together they help explain the history behind the systemic issues which increase the risk that people with disability are subject to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The reports outline the incredible efforts of generations of disability advocates and activists to gain the protections offered by equality, inclusion and justice that, directly and indirectly, triggered the establishment of the Disability Royal Commission.

Disability in Australia – Shadows struggles and success suggests the exclusion, discrimination and maltreatment experienced by people with disability in Australia throughout history, remain all too prevalent.  The fundamental question of how much we value people with disability as members of our community remains unanswered. The report argues that only a unanimously positive response can guarantee the full recognition and rights long argued for by the Disability Movement.

Agents of our own Destiny – Activism, and the road to the Disability Royal Commission draws our attention to the high stakes involved for people with disability in gaining these rights and proper recognition. It highlights the chronology of decades of work by disability advocates and activists, both public and private, to elevate disability from a peripheral issue to a mainstream political and economic concern culminating with the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Their activism also underlines just how important the outcomes of the Disability Royal Commission and its final report will be for hundreds of thousands of Australians with disability.

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