International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) was held on Saturday, 3 December 2022, with the theme being: Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.
In Australia, IDPwD celebrates the contributions and achievements of the 4.4 million Australians with disability, both visible and invisible. Across Australia, organisations have been hosting events and facilitating discussions around people with disability this month.
IDPwD Resources and Ambassadors
Australia funds a national program and website for IDPwD to help promote and raise awareness of this day, in addition to appointing Ambassadors for 2022. IDPwD provides a community event calendar, information kits, and resources to help organisations recognise and celebrate IDPwD. The 2022 Ambassadors shared their stories and perspectives in a series of videos and posts.
- Akii Ngo: a proud trans non-binary multi award-winning disability and gender equity activist and educator.
- Nathan Basha: a motivational speaker and filmmaker from Sydney.
- Chloe Hayden: an actor, performer and author currently performing a lead role in the remake of the TV series Heartbreak High.
- Uncle Wilfred Prince: an Indigenous elder who founded the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Queensland.
- Eliza Hull: a musician, writer, speaker and Radio National podcaster.
- Julie, Braeden and the Jones family: co-founder of the Travel Without Limits magazine, founders of the website Have Wheelchair Will Travel and advocates for accessible and inclusive tourism.
IDPwD Events and Announcements
A number of governments and organisations aligned events and announcements to the occasion, including:
- Action plan to meet the needs of consumers living with disability: The Government of Western Australia marked the day with the launch of a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing engagement with, and service delivery to consumers with disability;
- Celebrating trailblazing Australian artists and leaders at the National Arts and Disability Awards: The National Arts and Disability Awards, delivered by the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Access Australia, announced the three recipients of the Award to mark the eve of IDPwD;
- Disability Leadership Institute announced the recipients of the National Awards for Disability Leadership
- Hockey Australia and APM take leaps with Inclusive Handbook: Hockey Australia, together with Major Partner APM, launched an Inclusive Hookin2Hockey Handbook at the penultimate match of the Kookaburras series against India on 3 December in Adelaide;
- City of Hobart backing Tasmania’s blind cricketers: To celebrate Tasmania sending a team to the National Cricket Inclusion Championships in Brisbane next February, the City of Hobart invited the public to attend and try blind cricket at Salamanca Lawns.
- When it comes to sex, it’s better late than never: the new SBS and Screen Australia Digital Originals series, Latecomers, which explores disability, representation, and sex, premiered on SBS Viceland and SBS On Demand.
- DVNSW and People with Disability Australia: 16 Days of Activism – Disability Awareness Panel: This panel examined the impact of domestic and family violence on people living with disability.
IDPwD Stories and Content
ABC News’s partnership with IDPwD Australia, produced a wide range of content across their media platforms from 19 November to 10 December, including stories about invisible disability, disability pride, accessibility and inclusion:
- Celebrating Australians with disability in 2022 (provides links to IWPwD articles);
- Bunbury’s quest for most accessible city not yet realised but efforts to improve disabled access continues;
- Through practising disability pride, I’ve learnt there’s nothing wrong with me and I don’t have to accept discrimination;
- People with invisible disabilities like me are routinely disbelieved — and it can have long-lasting effects;
- These Australians are flying the flag for Disability Pride and changing the narrative from pity to respect;
- Some people are ‘disabled’. Others ‘live with’ or ‘have a disability’. Here’s the difference between identity-first and person-first language.
Many organisations took the opportunity to publish stories and content from, about, and around issues of people with disability. Many articles highlighted issues through lived experiences and perspectives from people with disability:
- Department of Defence featured stories from Defence employees: Finding the ability to keep working; A change in vision brings opportunity.
- NDIS celebrated IDPwD by sharing stories and experiences of participants, with a promotional video featuring Kurt Fearnley AO and many participants sharing what IDPwD means to them. Kurt Fearnley AO also wrote a piece for ABC News: I dug deep into the big issues for people with disability in Australia today. This is what I learned;
- Pro Bono Australia took the opportunity to highlight IDPwD in their “Changemaker” interview with Emma Bennison: Trailblazer leads the way.
- The Saturday Paper featured an opinion from Olivia Muscat, a blind writer, performer, critic and educator: International Day of Disabled Joy and Rage. Carly Findlay also published a profile on Actor, Kiruna Stamell (behind paywall).
IDPwD Commentary and Calls to Action
- People With Disability Australia published a call for meaningful action and highlighted the danger of a single story, in their media release: IDPwD: A day to take action. “[PWDA calls] for solutions that will ensure people with disability are included at all levels of society to transform and enable inclusive and accessible progress,” said PWDA President Nicole Lee.
- Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS) in NSW: The ‘Making Rights Real Group and Friends produced a short video which highlights some very important reminders about rights.
- Youth Disability Advocacy Service in Victoria reshared this video they created about Disability Pride.
- Advocacy for Inclusion in the ACT published a paper and held a forum focused on inclusive education.
- Family Advocacy in NSW called for support for the Same Classroom, Same Opportunity campaign
- Council for Intellectual Disability (NSW) called for support for their Make Inclusion Happen campaign: Everyday for everyone
- University of Melbourne called for the need for better Australian data to track the progress of policy changes and understand whether the experiences of people with disability are in fact improving in their article: Removing Barriers to Participation for People with Disability.
- Womens Agenda featured Akii Ngo, Hannah Diviney and Jerusha Mather in a piece exploring innovations and technology as a tool for inclusion: The Australians leading on transformative solutions for an accessible world.
IDPwD: More than a celebration
While Australia took the opportunity to celebrate, reflect, and connect around IDPwD this year, many took the opportunities to reflect, discuss, and look to solutions for important issues identified the disability community and sector. The Australian Government drew attention to the significance of the day to promote substantive change in a joint statement with the Ministers for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Social Services: International Day of People with Disability is more than a celebration. “While IDPwD is a day to celebrate, it is also an important reminder to Australians that breaking down barriers and encouraging a more inclusive and respectful society is everyone’s responsibility,” The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP said.
We hope that the conversations started by IDPwD continue and contribute to meaningful change and the breaking down of barriers for people with disability every day of the year.