I would like to begin by thanking the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) for inviting me to address you today, and thank Margaret Boylan (Regional Director, APS Commission, SA/NT) for her warm welcome.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Dr Bill Jonas, today expressed sadness at the death of former federal minister, the Honourable W.C. Wentworth AO, who championed Aboriginal people’s rights throughout his long and distinguished political career.
Over the past year, the Human Rights Commission has enjoyed a very productive relationship with Deafness Forum and other groups, including the Australian Association of the Deaf, and Media Access Australia . We've worked on a number of projects: TV, DVD and Cinema captioning, as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of people with Disability.
The 2003 Human Rights Award in Law has been awarded to Supreme Court of South Australia Senior Judge, Justice Mullighan, at a ceremony in Sydney today.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. It is honour to be here today to help recognise the people who try to make a difference to some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our community.
On her last day as President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Professor Alice Tay welcomed the Report of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee into the provisions of the Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Bill 2003.
I also acknowledge distinguished guests, representatives of State and local government, members of access advisory committees, and my colleague Mr Mike Taggart who has been a central figure in the achievement we celebrate today.
On the 15th October 2002, Commonwealth Government Transport Standards under the Disability Discrimination Act will become law. The standards will require public transport providers throughout Australia to make their vehicles and infrastructure accessible over a 20 year period. The Standards apply to trains, planes, buses, ferries and taxis.
As you know, the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act, and equivalent laws in all States, make it unlawful to discriminate on the ground of a person's disability. One of the areas covered by the Act is access to premises. The only exception to this is where a building is already constructed not providing access, and alteration to provide access would cause unjustifiable hardship.
HREOC officers recently completed a fact finding mission to Woomera IRPC, as part of the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention currently being undertaken by the Commission.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward today congratulated the Navy for instituting systemic changes to disciplinary procedures for dealing with indecent assault allegations.
As part of the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into Hearing Health in Australia, the Australian Race and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, today urged the Australian Government to increase action against the disproportionately high incidence of hearing impairment and deafness among Indigenous peoples.
I also would like to acknowledge the presence of Aunty Ruth Link and Mr Fraser Power the President of the Multicultural Development Association, distinguished guests and all of my Indigenous Aunties and Uncles, brothers and sisters here today.
Open captioned movies will officially start screening in Australia tonight at a launch that is expected to attract 400 people - including representatives of the 1.7 million deaf and hearing-impaired Australians, celebrities, politicians and representatives of the motion picture industry.
Although the Diversity on Boards of Directors report, released today, is useful in furthering discussion about the lack of female representation in leadership in the private sector, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, said she is concerned a number of the suggestions in the report have already been tried, and have failed to deliver a better gender mix on Boards.
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