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Focus on people with disabilities wins 2005 Arts Non-Fiction Award

Commission Commission – General

9 December 2005

Focus on people with disabilities wins 2005 Arts Non-Fiction Award

Disability in Australia: Exposing a Social Apartheid by Associate Professor Christopher Newell and Dr Gerard Goggin has been awarded the 2005 Human Rights Arts Non-Fiction Award.

Disability in Australia explores a hidden blight in society - the ways in which the routine, daily and oppressive treatment of people with disabilities denies them dignity. It uses the everyday, untold experiences of life of people with disabilities to make a powerful and persuasive argument about social apartheid.Drawing on a wide range of case studies from health and welfare, sport, biotechnology, deinstitutionalisation, political life, and the treatment of refugees, the book firmly puts disability into a social, political and human rights perspective.

The judges described the book as "provocative, well-written and informative". They said the authors successfully tackled an ambitious project and highlighted issues that did not usually receive as much attention as they deserved. The judges saw this book as managing to combine the qualities of a passionate manifesto and a cool academic investigation.

One entry was highly commended - Following them Home: The fate of the returned asylum seekers by David Corlett. The author travelled to countries to which the asylum seekers were sent to find out what happened to them. Described as a cross between investigative journalism and rigorous academic analysis, the book was able to illustrate the sometimes quite serious consequences of government actions. The judges said it was "a courageous and well-researched book with broad audience appeal".

Four other books were shortlisted: Richard Broome, Aboriginal Victorians: A History since 1800; Sandy McCutcheon, The Magician's Son: A search for Identity; Sue Pieters-Hawke and Hazel Flynn, Hazel's Journey: A Personal Experience of Alzheimer's; Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People; How international race thinking shaped Australia's identity.

The prestigious Human Rights Medal was also presented at the ceremony, along with awards for Law (sponsored by the Law Council of Australia), Community (sponsored by SBS Radio), Print Media, Television and Radio. For full details:

Media contact: Paul Oliver 02 9284 9880 or 0408 469 347

updated 9 December 2005.