Deaf Australia launched the National Week of Deaf People (NWDP) at the National Auslan Conference in Melbourne during the recent weekend, and there will be lots of activities organised by various organisations, clubs and individuals throughout the week.
The theme for the Week is: With Auslan, I am Equal.
The theme will be focusing on:
- Birth Rights: deaf children to access and acquire Auslan as their first language;
- Deaf Identity: deaf people are a cultural and linguistic minority who use Auslan as their primary or preferred language;
- Accessibility: deaf people need access to public information and services through Auslan;
- Equal Language: recognising Auslan as a language equal to spoken/ written languages;
- Equal Employment Opportunity: removing the barriers where hearing is a requirement and promoting greater inclusion and opportunities for deaf people to realise their goals;
- Bilingual Education: accepting the need for bilingual education for deaf children (Auslan and English), and for teachers and interpreters to be fully accessible;
- Equal Participation: deaf people to be able to fully participate in the personal, public and political along with everyone else; and
- Lifelong Learning: access to education, training and ongoing professional development is the key to gaining and retaining a job and being able to make a reasonable living.
Last week, the members of Deaf Australia have overwhelmingly endorsed a new Position Statement on the Requirements for Early Intervention for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in Australia. You can download it here.
Deaf Australia also launched the ‘Colin Allen Lecture’ which will be an annual award recognising individuals who promotes the right of deaf people in all walks of life, continuing Colin Allen’s legacy in politics, advocacy, community, international development, sports and/ or theatre.
The Australian Curriculum has submitted the National Auslan Curriculum for publication approval, which will include Auslan as one of the language curricula available for K to year 10. The National Auslan curriculum is expected to be in effect from 2017.
Australian Consumers Communication Actions Network (ACCAN) launched their Auslan Translation Standards and Production Guidelines for producing Auslan content videos at the recent National Auslan Conference.
However, our society still does not treat deaf people equally.
On 5 October 2016, the Australian High Court (Lyons v. Queensland) found that in its present interpretation of the Jury Act, the Queensland State did not discriminate against Ms. Lyons by refusing to provide Auslan interpreters to enable her to undertake her civic duty as a juror. The Jury Act needs to be changed.
As summer is quickly approaching, deaf people will need access to emergency announcements. For deaf people, the best way to get information is through Auslan. All emergency announcements need to be made accessible in Auslan nationally.
Significant numbers of deaf children around Australia do not have full access to Auslan in schools. Deaf children need full access to Auslan for their education.
These are some examples of things that need to change in order to realise deaf people’s capacity to be equal.
With Auslan, I am Equal.