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Web accessibility and Government 2.0 (2009)

Legal Legal
Friday 14 December, 2012

Web accessibility and Government 2.0

Australian Human Rights Commission
submission to the Government 2.0 Taskforce – Towards Government 2.0 an
issues paper

1 October 2009


Table of Contents


1 Introduction

  1. The Australian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) makes this
    submission to the Government 2.0 Taskforce - Towards Government 2.0: An
    issues paper
    .

  2. As governments rely more on the Internet to deliver information, the issue
    of equal access to government services and information by people who do not have
    access to, or cannot use, up-to-date equipment becomes more pressing. These
    groups include people with disability, the elderly, rural and remote Australians
    and people living in poverty. This submission focuses on access to government
    information for people with disability.

  3. The Commission welcomes the Taskforce’s aim of making government
    information more accessible and useable; to make processes more collaborative,
    participatory and transparent; to build a culture of online innovation, and; to
    promote collaboration across agencies in online and information
    initiatives.

1.1 About the
Commission

  1. The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory
    organisation that works to protect and promote the human rights of all people in
    Australia. The Commission was established by the Australian Government in 1986.

  2. Our vision is to work towards an Australian society where human rights are
    enjoyed by everyone, everywhere, every day.

  3. We are responsible for administering the following federal laws:

    • Age Discrimination Act 2004

    • Disability Discrimination Act 1992

    • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986

    • Sex Discrimination Act 1984

    • Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

  4. We also have specific responsibilities under the Native Title Act
    1993
    (performed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
    Justice Commissioner) and the Workplace Relations Act 1996
    (performed by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner).

  5. Our work covers four key areas:

    • providing education and raising public awareness about human rights

    • handling complaints of discrimination and breaches of human rights

    • researching human rights issues and contributing to policy developments

    • legal advocacy on human rights issues.

  6. We fulfil our responsibilities by:

    • developing publications, resources and education programs for schools,
      workplaces and the community

    • working with the media to raise public awareness about discrimination and
      other human rights issues

    • supporting community organisations and business on how to protect and
      promote human rights

    • investigating and conciliating complaints of discrimination or breaches of
      human rights under federal laws

    • holding public inquiries and consultations on important human rights issues

    • working with and advising parliaments and governments to develop laws,
      programs and policies that protect and promote human rights

    • researching human rights issues

    • making submissions to parliamentary and other inquiries about human rights
      issues

    • providing independent advice to assist courts in cases that involve human
      rights principles

    • working with other national human rights institutions, particularly through
      the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, to address major
      human rights issues in the region.

2 Summary

  1. The Commission believes that government departments and agencies need to
    improve their provision of equal access to public information, especially for
    people with disability.

  2. Departments and agencies can improve their web presences by following the
    standards promoted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Australian
    Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) and the Commission.

  3. Basic web accessibility is mandatory for Australian Government departments
    and agencies. Allowing sites to be launched that are inaccessible risks
    complaints under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA).

  4. The Commission recognises the value of Web 2.0 technologies for
    collaboration with the community, however many of these technologies are not
    currently accessible for people with disability. Government departments and
    agencies should provide sufficient technologies to allow participation for
    all.

  5. Additionally, the Commission believes that online forums developed by the
    Government should have adequate agency guidelines and Acceptable Use Policies to
    enable moderators and developers of forums to be alert to discrimination that
    may occur online. This will help to foster a discrimination-free environment
    when engaging with the community.

3 Recommendations

  1. The Australian Human Rights Commission recommends that government online
    services should include a strong focus on web accessibility.

  2. The Australian Human Rights Commission recommends that the Government should
    promote web accessibility guidelines to agencies and departments.

  3. The Australian Human Rights Commission recommends that government online
    forums should be inclusive and discrimination-free.

4 Web
accessibility

  1. Individuals and organisations who provide goods and services over the
    Internet need to think about how they make their websites accessible to people
    with disability.

  2. Almost one in five Australians has a disability, and the proportion is
    growing. The full and independent participation by people with disability in
    web-based communication and information delivery makes good business and
    marketing sense, as well as being consistent with society's obligations to
    remove discrimination and promote human rights.

  3. There needs to be much more effort made to encourage the implementation of
    accessible web design; access to the World Wide Web for people with disability
    can be readily achieved if good design practices are followed. A complaint of
    disability discrimination is, in the Commission’s view, unlikely to
    succeed if accessibility has been considered at the design stage and reasonable
    steps have been taken to provide access.

  4. In its most general sense, accessible web design refers to the philosophy
    and practice of designing web pages so that they can be navigated and read by
    everyone, regardless of location, experience, or the type of computer technology
    used. Accessible web design is most commonly discussed in relation to people
    with disability, because this group are most likely to be disadvantaged if the
    principles of accessible web design are not implemented. Failure to follow these
    principles can make it difficult or impossible for people with disability to
    access web pages. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and
    Director of the W3C Consortium, has commented that: "The power of the Web is in
    its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential
    aspect."[1]

  5. There are important similarities between designing for accessibility of the
    physical environment and designing for accessibility of the World Wide Web.
    Accessibility of buildings and other aspects of the physical environment are
    best achieved through careful planning and attention to detail, rather than by
    adding accessibility features at the end of the design process. In a similar
    way, creating accessible web pages should be an integral part of the web design
    philosophy, and accessibility features should be incorporated into all aspects
    of the design process. Testing for accessibility should also be incorporated
    into all user testing regimes, and should never be seen as an isolated event
    that can occur after other user testing has taken place. Therefore, designing
    for accessibility is as much a strategic issue as a purely technical one.

  6. Accessibility does not require that all pages be limited to plain text. More
    sophisticated and innovative pages can and should also be made accessible. In
    general, this involves provision of alternatives to an otherwise inaccessible
    feature, rather than any requirement to avoid innovative design.

5 Equal
access is required by law

  1. Web accessibility is internationally recognised in the Convention on the
    Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    . On the domestic level, the provision of
    information and online services through the World Wide Web, in the
    Commission’s view, is a service covered by the DDA. Equal access for
    people with a disability in this area is required by the DDA where it can
    reasonably be provided. This requirement applies to any individual or
    organisation developing a World Wide Web page in Australia, or placing or
    maintaining a web page on an Australian server. This includes pages developed or
    maintained for purposes relating to: employment; education; provision of
    services including professional services, banking, insurance or financial
    services, entertainment or recreation, telecommunications services, public
    transport services, or government services; sale or rental of real estate;
    sport; activities of voluntary associations; or administration of Commonwealth
    laws or programs. All these are areas specifically covered by the DDA.

  2. In addition to these specific areas, provision of any other information or
    other goods, services or facilities through the Internet is in itself a service,
    and as such, discrimination in the provision of this service is, in the
    Commission’s view, a service covered by the DDA. The DDA applies to
    services whether provided for payment or not.

6 Convention
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  1. On 17 July 2008, Australia was one of the first nations to ratify the
    Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Disabilities
    Convention is an international instrument of the United Nations intended to
    promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and
    fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect
    for their inherent dignity.[2]

  2. Article 9 of the Convention is titled Accessibility and most of its
    points are relevant to web
    accessibility:

    Article
    9 - Accessibility

    1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate
    fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to
    ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to
    the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications,
    including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other
    facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in
    rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and
    elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter
    alia:

    ...

    (b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic
    services and emergency services.

    2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to:

    (a) Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards
    and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided
    to the public;

    (b) Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are
    open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility
    for persons with disabilities;

    (c) Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons
    with disabilities;

    ...

    (f) Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons
    with disabilities to ensure their access to information;

    (g) Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and
    communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;

    (h) Promote the design, development, production and distribution of
    accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early
    stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
    [3]

  3. The 2009 amendments to the DDA inserted an explicit reference to the
    Disabilities Convention in s 12(8)(ba) of the
    DDA.[4] The DDA now has effect to the
    extent that its provisions ‘give effect to the Disabilities
    Convention’.

  4. The Disabilities Convention has been declared as a ‘relevant
    international instrument’ under the Australian Human Rights Commission
    Act.[5] Declaring the Convention in
    this way formally constitutes the Commission as part of the framework for
    implementation and monitoring which Australia is committed to developing by
    Article 33 of the Convention.

  5. The effect of declaring the Convention is that the rights which it
    recognises fall within the definition of ‘human rights’, for the
    purposes of the Commission's functions under s 11 of the Australian Human
    Rights Commission Act 1986
    . In particular, the Commission may:

    • inquire into an act or practice that may be inconsistent with or contrary to
      the rights in the Convention - and seek to settle such a matter through
      conciliation or otherwise to report to the Attorney-General on the inquiry

    • prepare guidelines for the avoidance of acts or practices inconsistent with
      rights recognised in the Convention

    • promote an understanding and acceptance of the rights in the Convention,
      including through undertaking research and educational programs

    • report to the Attorney-General as to the laws that should be made by the
      Commonwealth on matters relating to the Convention

    • report to the Attorney-General as to the action that, in the opinion of the
      Commission, needs to be taken by Australia, in order to comply with the
      provisions of the Convention.
      [6]

7 Web
accessibility and the Australian Government

  1. The Australian Human Rights Commission developed an interest in web
    accessibility as soon as it established a web presence. The Australian
    Government recognised web accessibility as a mandatory part of online government
    communications from the 2000 Government Online initiative. Web
    accessibility is promoted by the Commission and also through AGIMO’s Web Publishing Guide. The standard relied on by the Australian Government
    is the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0).
    Website accessibility is also recognised as a way to empower people who have
    disability in the Government’s Commonwealth Disability
    Strategy
    .

  2. This section provides a summarised chronology of these approaches.

  3. These guidelines indicate that the Australian Government has a strong
    recognition of the need for web accessibility. However, the Commission believes
    that these approaches need to be promoted more strongly to agencies and
    departments.

7.1 Government
Online

  1. Government Online: The Commonwealth Government’s Strategy was a
    forward thinking policy released by the National Office of the Information
    Economy (NOIE) in 2000 that reinforced the obligations to agencies and
    departments under the DDA (also the W3C’s WCAG standard), as well as
    mandated testing for accessibility by agencies.

    The Government
    is committed to ensuring that no group is excluded from being able to access
    Government Online. Agencies will be required to fulfil their obligations under
    the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 by observing the
    World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) Web
    Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
    , to ensure the widest possible
    audience for Government Online.

    From 1 June 2000, all websites are to be tested by agencies for
    accessibility, and all new website contracts to include accessibility as a key
    performance measure. By 1 December 2000, all websites are to follow the W3C
    guidelines to a sufficient extent that they pass recognised tests of
    accessibility.[7]

7.2 Australian
Human Rights Commission - World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act
Advisory Notes

  1. The Australian Human Rights Commission has published and regularly updated a
    guide to web accessibility since 1997. These advisory notes are intended to
    assist people and organisations involved in developing or modifying World Wide
    Web pages, by making clearer what the requirements of the DDA are in this area,
    and how compliance with them can be achieved.

  2. The guide has evolved as accessibility guidelines have developed and now
    endorse the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 as the
    web accessibility standard that the Australian Government should refer to.

  3. These guidelines are available at: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/standards/www_3/www_3.html

7.3 Web
Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0)

  1. The W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative published their guidelines to
    making websites accessible in 1999 following a period of extensive review and
    public consultation. W3C's role in making the recommendations was to draw
    attention to the specification and to promote its widespread deployment. This
    has enhanced the functionality and universality of the web.

  2. This standard was updated in 2008 following a long period of consultation
    and WCAG 2.0 is now the W3C’s recommended web accessibility standard.
    However, this has yet to be made a requirement for Australian Government
    agencies and departments to follow.

  3. The Commission looks forward to working with AGIMO to help promote a greater
    understanding of the WCAG accessibility standard throughout Australian
    Government websites. It is the Commission’s view that the Australian
    Government should adequately resource the promotion of accessibility
    standards.

7.4 Australian
Government Information Management Office (AGIMO)

  1. NOIE was replaced by the Australian Government Information Management Office
    (AGIMO) on 8 April 2004.

  2. AGIMO maintain an online Web Publishing Guide for government web
    teams. There are both advisory guidelines and mandatory guidelines. The AGIMO
    Accessibility guideline is mandatory for all federal government agencies
    and departments.

  3. AGIMO write that:

    Accessibility is a general term used to
    describe the degree to which a system is usable by as many people as possible
    without modification. Web pages often have access issues for people with
    disabilities or with technological
    constraints.[8]

  4. And then they mandate a baseline for accessible
    design:

    Agencies must achieve level "A" conformance (all Priority
    1 checkpoints are satisfied), and it is recommended that agencies achieve level
    "AA" conformance (all Priority 1 and Priority 2 checkpoints are
    satisfied).[9]

  5. AGIMO summarise the WCAG compliance levels as follows:

    The W3C
    guidelines provide a series of checkpoints that can be used to ensure that
    websites are accessible. Each checkpoint has a priority level assigned by the
    Working Group based on the checkpoint's impact on accessibility.

    Priority 1

    W3C states that a web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint.
    Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in
    the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups
    to be able to use Web documents.

    Level of Compliance: The Australian Human Rights Commission's
    view is that compliance with the W3C WCAG 1.0 guidelines to the Single-A level
    is a minimum, rather than a desirable outcome. Websites that demonstrate such
    compliance may still be difficult or impossible to access for many users with
    disability.

    Priority 2

    W3C states that a web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint.
    Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in
    the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to
    accessing web documents.

    Priority 3

    W3C states that a web content developer may address this checkpoint.
    Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access
    information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to
    web documents.[10]

7.5 e-Government
Strategy

  1. In the 2006 e-Government Strategy, Responsive Government: A New Service
    Agenda
    , the projected vision for Australian Government service delivery in
    the near future was that:

    People will be able to choose from a
    range of service delivery modes, but will prefer the added convenience and
    functionality of online, electronic and voice-based channels, which they will
    use frequently. The government will continue to ensure that people with a
    disability can access government information and services with
    ease
    .[11]

This is a vision that the Commission shares.

7.6 Commonwealth
Disability Strategy

  1. In the Commonwealth Disability Strategy: Better Information and
    Communication Practices
    , the Department of Families, Housing, Community
    Services and Indigenous Affairs states that:

    People with
    disability are increasingly able to get access to information on the Internet.
    It is a highly suitable format for people with hearing, vision, mobility and/or
    manipulatory impairments who have access to a computer. Many people have
    software that allows them to format the screen to suit their particular needs -
    such as changing to a larger font, suitable colours or using a large screen.
    However, not everyone has Internet access so it can not be used to reach the
    whole community.
    [12]

  2. The Commonwealth Disability Strategy recommends that agencies follow the
    Commission’s DDA Advisory Notes on accessibility to make Government
    information available to the widest possible
    audience.[13]

8 Web
Watch: Accessibility of information on government websites

  1. On 18 September 2008, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme
    Innes AM, launched an initiative called ‘Web Watch’ to promote
    provision of government information in forms which all Australians can use and
    which comply with the requirements of the DDA.

  2. Mr Innes announced when Government websites depart substantially from
    accessibility requirements the Commission will post details of their website to
    the Commission’s Web Watch pages, and advise the department or agency
    concerned as well as the Australian Government Information Management Office
    (AGIMO). He would only remove the listing of the offending site once he was
    satisfied that remedial measures have been taken to remedy the situation.

  3. As of 1 October 2009, there are three agency websites listed on Web Watch.
    The three are listed for providing a significant number of publications in PDF
    only, which is a format that the Commission considers relatively inaccessible.
    The Commission's view is that organisations who distribute content only in PDF
    format, and who do not also make this content available in another format such
    as RTF, HTML, or plain text, may be liable for complaints under the
    DDA.

9 Web
2.0 tools for collaboration

  1. Web 2.0 is a useful jargon word coined around 2004 to describe a more
    collaborative approach to the web, whereas the first iteration is thought to
    have been more the case that visitors to a website read static information,
    rather than contribute to
    it.[14]

  2. The Commission regularly calls for submissions to inquiries, issues and
    discussion papers and projects, which in turn, informs reports and policy
    papers. In the past, these submission processes have largely been mail or email
    based.

  3. Web 2.0 technologies enable the Commission to interact with people on a
    wider scale. The Commission has run two consultation blogs, from which useful
    comments, suggestions and stories about discrimination were selected that
    appeared in the final reports for their projects. The Commission has also
    utilised social networking tools such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. A
    description of the most recent blog is in Appendix 1 and a summary of the
    Commission’s engagement with social networking is in Appendix 2.

  4. The Commission recognises the value of Web 2.0 technologies for
    collaboration with the community, however many of these technologies are not
    currently accessible for people with disability.

  5. Government departments and agencies should provide sufficient technologies
    to allow participation for all. This may mean providing alternative ways to
    provide comments on projects, or to not focus a project through one particular
    social networking website that has accessibility problems, and to provide other
    ways for users to engage with the project. Government departments and agencies
    can also work with providers of software or services to make the technology
    accessible.

10 Complaints
about website accessibility

  1. In the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Bruce Maguire lodged a
    complaint against the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG),
    the organisers of the Games, for failing to provide its website and ticketing
    information in a format accessible to people with a vision impairment. In the
    case heard by HREOC (as the Commission was then known), the website developer
    confirmed that some parts of the site were not accessible. However, SOCOG argued
    that correcting the site would cause unjustifiable hardship. Hearing
    Commissioner William Carter disagreed and ordered SOCOG to upgrade its
    website prior to the start of the Games and provide ticketing information in
    Braille. After the Olympics had finished the SOCOG website was found to only be
    partly compliant and $20,000 damages were
    awarded.[15]

  2. The successful complaint by Bruce Maguire against SOCOG’s website
    created widespread awareness about web accessibility in business and
    government.[16]

  3. Complaints about website accessibility must be made by or on behalf of a
    person who is affected by the inaccessibility. Complaints can be made in writing
    either via the online complaints form on the Australian Human Rights Commission
    website, email, or by post. People can contact the Complaints Information
    Service on 1300 656 419 for information on the complaint process and for help to
    make their complaint.

  4. Complaints to the Commission are resolved through a process known as
    conciliation. This is where the people involved in a complaint talk through the
    issues with the help of a Commission conciliator and resolve the matter on their
    own terms.

  5. Conciliation is a very successful way of resolving complaints. Feedback
    shows that most people find our process fair, informal and easy to understand.
    It also helps them to better understand the issues and come up with solutions
    that are appropriate to their circumstances.

  6. If the complaint is not resolved or is finalised for another reason
    complainants have the option to then take the matter to the Federal Magistrates
    Court or the Federal Court of Australia.

  7. Following are several complaints case studies on website
    accessibility:[17]

    Website
    access

    A man who has a vision impairment complained that a utility provider's
    website was inaccessible to him. Problems included text with fixed font sizes
    which users could not enlarge for viewing, and inadequate colour contrasts. The
    complaint was resolved with an agreement to upgrade the site to meet W3C
    accessibility requirements.

    Online banking

    A woman who has a vision impairment complained that the online banking
    facilities of her credit union were not accessible to her because of the manner
    in which security features had been implemented. The complaint was resolved when
    the credit union agreed to upgrade its site to provide an accessible method for
    verifying identity.

    Access to government website

    A man who has a vision impairment complained that a state government
    department's website was not accessible, so he was not able to make fully
    informed comments on proposed legislation in the area. The complaint was
    resolved when the department advised that it was undertaking a major project to
    achieve accessibility of its sites and documents; that all new documents from
    July 2005 would be provided in accessible formats on site, and; that any
    existing documents would be provided in accessible formats on request.

    Access to government information

    A man who has a vision impairment complained that a government department's
    website service was not accessible to him because of the format that it was
    provided in. The complainant advised that he was willing to withdraw his
    complaint if the respondent modified the website so that it complied with the
    W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines either directly or
    through an accessible alternative. The department responded with a draft website
    accessibility action plan. The plan detailed the actions the respondent would
    take to provide access to its materials in alternative formats. In the interim,
    the complainant was also provided with text versions of all the documents which
    he required from the website. The complainant advised that he was satisfied with
    plan proposed by the respondent and he thanked the Commission for its assistance
    with this matter.

    Web site access

    A woman who is blind complained that a real estate information site was
    inaccessible because it could not be read by her screen reader software. The
    complaint was resolved when the organisation which maintains the site made
    changes to ensure the site was accessible.

11 Providing
a non-discriminatory environment on government websites

  1. The Australian Public Sector Commission in 2008 published the Interim
    protocols for online media
    participation
    .[18]

  2. The Commission believes that these protocols could be further promoted to
    help ensure agency staff who are developing, moderating or commenting on Web
    2.0 technologies are aware of federal discrimination legislation and
    accessibility information guidelines. This will help foster a
    discrimination-free online environment.

Comment to Interim
Protocols for Online Media Participation

  1. In April 2009, the Australian Human Rights Commission reviewed the
    guidelines from the Australian Public Service Commission regarding Protocols for
    Online Participation and made the following recommendations for
    inclusion:

Agency guidelines

  • That staff must be aware of and comply with federal anti-discrimination and
    human rights laws, including the five Acts administered by the Australian Human
    Rights Commission: Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986, Sex
    Discrimination Act 1984
    , Racial Discrimination Act 1975, Disability
    Discrimination Act 1992
    and Age Discrimination Act
    2004.


    Each of these Acts has specific grounds for complaints
    of discrimination, harassment and bullying based on a person’s: sex,
    disability, race, age, sexual preference, criminal record, trade union activity,
    political opinion, religion or social origin.

  • That all agency online communications meet Internet/web access standards and
    guidelines (see the Commission’s World Wide Web Accessibility page at: http://humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/webaccess/index.htm),
    including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 (see http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/).

Acceptable
Use Policy

The Commission also proposed that all agencies and departments using social
media / networking websites should have an Acceptable Use Policy which is
clearly available for users.[19]

The Commission also recommends to add to the Australian Public Service
Commission’s proposed Acceptable Use Policy the following:

  • do not post anything which

    • racially or religiously vilifies others (see the Commission fact sheet on Cyber-racism for more information, available at: http://humanrights.gov.au/racial_discrimination/publications/cyberracis…)
    • incites, induces, aids, assists, promotes, causes, instructs or permits violence, discrimination, harassment, victimisation or hatred towards others, or
    • is likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate others, particularly on the basis of their sex, gender identity, race, colour, descent, national origin, religion, ethnicity, age, sexuality or any disability.

12 Appendix 1: Sex Files
blog: the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records

(http://www.hreocblog.com/genderdiversity/)

  1. In 2008, (the then) Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination
    Commissioner, Graeme Innes AM developed the sex and gender diversity project
    following consultations with members of sex and gender diverse communities and
    hearing about the discrimination they experience. One of the key human rights
    concerns was that many people who are sex and gender diverse are unable to
    change the sex markers in official documents or government records, (for example
    birth certificates).

  2. The legal recognition of sex, and the ability of people who are sex and
    gender diverse to amend their documents and records, was the most pressing issue
    raised during consultations for the sex and gender diversity project.

  3. The Commission created an online blog or bulletin board to listen to the sex
    and gender diverse community. The blog was set up to enable people to post
    anonymously.

  4. The blog ran from 8 August 2008 – 5 December 2008, and issues raised
    in the blog and direct quotes from blog participants were used in the concluding
    paper. The blog had more than 400 posts in 15 different topic areas.

  5. The blog was run using PhpBB software, which is a free and open source forum
    platform.

13 Appendix
2: Social Networking

13.1 Facebook

( http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Sydney-Australia/Australian-Human-Rights-Commission/58057437310
)

  1. The Commission established its Facebook page on 23 March 2009.

  2. As of 1 October 2009, the Commission’s Facebook site has 1282
    ‘friends’. Most of these ‘friends’ are based in
    Australia.

  3. A range of Commission projects, events and launches have been posted on the
    site.

13.2 YouTube

( http://www.youtube.com/user/AustralianHRC
)

  1. The Commission launched its YouTube channel on 22 April 2009. As of 1
    October 2009, the channel has 10 videos and has had 2,993 views.

  2. All of the Commission’s videos are captioned.

13.3 MySpace

( http://www.myspace.com/letstalkaboutrights
)

  1. The Commission set up a MySpace page on 13 May 2009.

  2. As of 1 October 2009, the Commission’s MySpace page has 2836
    ‘friends’.

  3. Following the ‘Let’s talk about rights’ campaign, the page
    is now used to link to prominent Commission projects and our YouTube site.


[1] World Wide Web Consortium, http://www.w3.org/Press/IPO-announce
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[2]Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/Convention.aspx
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[3]Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/Convention.aspx
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[4]
Schedule 2, pt 1, item 20 of the Disability Discrimination and Other Human
Rights Legislation Amendment Act 2009

(Cth).
[5] Section 4 of
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Declaration 2009(Cth).
[6] G Innes AM,
‘The best DisCo in town: Towards implementation of the Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/speeches/2009/disco.htm
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[7]
Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), http://www.agimo.gov.au/archive/publications_noie/2000/04/govonline.html#STRATEGICPRIORITY2
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[8]
AGIMO, http://webpublishing.agimo.gov.au/Accessibility
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[9]
AGIMO, http://webpublishing.agimo.gov.au/Accessibility
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[10]
AGIMO, http://webpublishing.agimo.gov.au/Accessibility
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[11]
AGIMO, http://www.finance.gov.au/e-government/strategy-and-governance/e-government-strategy.html,
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[12]
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
(FaHCSIA), http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/disability/pubs/policy/Documents/cds/bicp/p3.htm
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[13]
FaHCSIA, http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/disability/pubs/policy/Documents/cds/bicp/p3.htm
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[14] P
Graham ‘Web 2.0’, http://www.paulgraham.com/web20.html
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[15]Bruce Lindsay Maguire v Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic
Games
(2000) http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/decisions/comdec/2000/DD000120.htm
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[16] T
Worthington ‘Olympic Failure: A Case for Making the Web Accessible’
(2000) http://www.tomw.net.au/2000/bat.html
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[17]
Australian Human Rights Commission http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/decisions/conciliation/goods_etc_conciliation.htm
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[18]
Australian Public Service Commission, http://www.apsc.gov.au/circulars/circular088.htm
(viewed 15 September 2009)
[19]
As an example, see the Commission’s Acceptable Use Policy from the Sex
Files
blog at
http://www.hreocblog.com/genderdiversity/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7