FECCA conference, Adelaide

I’m at the FECCA conference on Advancing Multiculturalism in Adelaide, as part of the interfaith Australian Partnership of Religious Organizations roundtable. I’ll try to blog some bits I find
interesting. These are purely random observations, not an attempt to cover everything.

Paraphrases in normal text, “quotes in quote marks”, (my own observations in brackets).

PANEL ON DISABILITY

(Two very moving and insightful presentations from persons with disabilities. Sorry, these few remarks can’t capture the strength of these inspiring people… But anyway, here’s a few bits and pieces) Hon Kelly Vincent (Dignity for Disability party):

“You can’t access justice if you can’t access the building.”

Christian Astourian (FECCA disability committee chair)

There are a million people with disabilities in Australia who come from a non-English speaking background; they take up services and support for disabilities only half as much as those from an
English-speaking background. Services are supplied largely in English, and non-English speakers feel marginalized and excluded.

“I strongly believe that in this world we are all connected in one way or another.”

Rather than looking at people with disabilities as liability, we should look at the contribution to society.

Advice for parents: Don’t hold back from and be overprotective. Empower children with disabilities, the disability is only one part of them.

“I really believe that in this life we should do the best with what we’ve got.”

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One thought on “FECCA conference, Adelaide

  1. Support for the Disability Sector.

    As someone who works in the disability and to some degree mental health sector finally there was some good news last week.

    In the Social Welfare/community services industry approx 150,000 of the 180,000 employees are women and as such (not that it is about money) but studies have shown this sector has been underpaid because of gender for years.

    The ASU has been trying to correct this issue and finally there was some good news from Julia Gillard:

    “For too long Australia has undervalued workers in the social and community services sector.

    We’re putting over $2 billion on the table for 150, 000 workers in your sector.

    Alongside the ASU, my Labor Government will make a submission to Fair Work Australia that argues for rates of pay that fairly and properly value social and community sector work. We know most of you are women and that full-time working women earn on average one fifth less than men. That equates to women working seven weeks a year for free.

    Frankly, it’s just wrong.

    That’s why we’re arguing for rates of pay that don’t discriminate, so decades of inequality are brought to an end.

    I would like to recognise your contribution to this announcement. Not just for your daily work in our communities, but also your struggle, through your union, to run this Equal Pay case and to use Labor’s Fair Work laws to have your work properly valued. You have sent me Kiss postcards and YouTube videos, you have delivered petitions with thousands of signatures, you have called, faxed and emailed. You have rallied in your thousands. You have fought for equal pay.

    This equal pay case has only been possible through the introduction of Labor’s Fair Work laws. Prior to the Fair Work Act all 16 applications for equal pay had failed because the test was impossible to meet.

    When I abolished Work Choices and created Fair Work Australia I hoped for an outcome like this. I hoped Labor’s new laws would lead to a fair decision, based on fair evidence, that often people who work in female-dominated sectors had been underpaid for a long time.

    This is an historic announcement for you and your colleagues and it’s something only a Labor Government will deliver.

    Julia Gillard
    Prime Minister

    Hopefully this will lead not just to bigger pay packets for people in this sector OR to futher exploitation of people with disabilites by people who just want to make money, but to more professional but compassionate support for people with disabilities (not to mention the Social Educators/carers that work in that sector).

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