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SGM: Why change to company?


Deaf Australia is a national organisation. Deaf Australia is currently under the law governing South Australian incorporated associations. Deaf Australia does not just help people who are deaf and hard of hearing in South Australia. Changing to a company will make it easier for Deaf Australia to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing across all of Australia.   

Currently, Deaf Australia is based in Victoria. Deaf Australia should not have the report to South Australian state regulators (Control) if it is not based in South Australia. Deaf Australia has not been based in South Australia for some time.   

Once Deaf Australia changes to a company, it can benefit from the law governing in companies in Australia and recent changes to these laws. The law governing companies in Australia is modern. It helps companies run meetings and pursue their activities / business without increasing burden or difficulty for members or directors.  

Changing to a company will reduce the number of government regulators (control) that Deaf Australia must deal with. Currently Deaf Australia must deal with three regulators:   

Consumer and Business Services, which regulates incorporated association in South Australia;  

  • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which regulates companies; and  
  • The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits commission (ACNC), which regulates charities.   
  • Once Deaf Australia changes to a new Company registered as a charity with ACNC, Deaf Australia will only be required to comply with the regulatory obligations with the ACNC (and in some situation, with ASIC).  

This will simplify the obligations of Deaf Australia as a company.   

As mentioned before Deaf Australia is based in Victoria not in South Australia. We hope we have your support.  

SGM: Welcome and Invitation


Hi I am Debra Swann – chairperson of Deaf Australia  

I hope you all have a safe and happy new year and look forward to 2023 with you all.  

This video is to formally invite you to out special general meeting on Saturday 4 February at 2pm AEDT 

  • Melbourne/Sydney/Canberra / Hobart 2pm 
  • Adelaide 1.30pm 
  • Brisbane 1pm 
  • Perth – 11am 

We will cover the following:  

  1. Adoption of annual financial report 
  2. Appointment of directors 
  3. Change of Deaf Australia to company – will have another video about this.  
  4. Adoption of proposed constitution of company 

See you at the SGM.  

CE update – 21 Jan 2022


Hello, I’m Jen Blyth, CEO of Deaf Australia. Happy New Year, am really excited to be back, Deaf Australia is really keen to see what’s happening this year with the Deaf community. To let you know a few things that’s happening, first, the CEO Q & A that was postponed last January. It will now be in February, on the 10th at 5pm Melbourne time. The format is the same as the Q & A that was held last year where the community asked some hard questions as well as easy questions; am looking forward to the next one.

In March we have the SGM, will release more details soon. The SGM will cover a few topics, and an important one for you all are the awards. We’ll have nominations open for the awards very soon. The Deaf community has indicated that they really want this to happen, so we’ll make sure it does happen for you all. You can nominate someone for Deaf Australian of the Year, Deaf Youth of the Year and Community volunteer of the year. There will also be an AGM later on this year and the awards will be presented again. The SGM awards this year is to acknowledge those for last year’s; the AGM awards are for this year.

Now for the NDIA update. You remember that I encouraged you all last year to let me know of barriers encountered with getting Auslan provided for children in your NDIA plans. I thank those who’ve already done so. The NDIA recognises that there is a gap in their modelling and it needs to be improved. We are collaborating with them to fix the situation where Auslan is put under the ‘core’ section – it should be in the ‘capacity building’ section. We know that if you have a self-managed plan it’s fine, but if it’s managed by others that’s where the barriers are encountered. The NDIA will continue to note these issues and for now, do continue to ask for a review and AAT. You can ask Deaf Australia to be included as an AAT expert to explain why including Auslan is so important. Please do continue to contact me, and keep submitting your complaints to them.

This bit is exciting; you remember the Dot Shaw Writer’s Competition from last year? We also have an Auslan Competition! We’ll have the competition on 13th April, called the Auslan Day Video Competition. We’ll release further information very soon about this, and I’m excited about getting submissions from you all, from different categories, age groups and topics. I won’t tell you all the details just yet! Just know that I and the team will enjoy getting popcorn and watching all the submissions! We’ll give you more information soon.

Thank you!

I hope you have a wonderful 2022 and as always, contact me or the team any time.


Auslan translation of ABC Radio Interview re: advocacy campaign for Auslan interpreters at all press conferences


Thomas Oriti 0:03
We're all familiar with the faces of Auslan interpreters at press conferences given the need for important public health messages during the pandemic. Now more than ever, it's crucial that information is accessible to everyone but Deaf Australia is calling on the Prime Minister to be more consistent with providing an interpreter for the Deaf community and his public conferences. ABC News Radio contacted the Prime Minister's office about the issue. They said Mr. Morrison makes every effort to ensure an Auslan interpreter is present in press conferences where urgent communication is needed. And it's unfortunately not always possible due to limited notice or availability. Well, Jen Blyth is the CEO of Deaf Australia, and she joins me earlier with an Auslan interpreter of her own.

Jennifer Blyth 0:49
We're asking for the Prime Minister and the oppositional parties to also provide interpreters, sign language interpreters, for all media press conferences, for all times, if any information is important enough for the wider community to hear and access, it's important enough for the Deaf community to also have access to.

Thomas Oriti 1:10
The Prime Minister's Office says it makes every effort to ensure a certified Auslan interpreter is present. But at this stage of the pandemic, it says critical health informations often communicated at a state or territory level. Can you tell me more about why it's important to you, though, that political press conferences, particularly the Prime Minister's are always accessible.

Jennifer Blyth 1:34
If you are talking about things, as you would know, like recently, there was the women's summit that relates to all women, including Deaf women, as well, that's really important information for us to learn about. It shouldn't only have access provided in emergency situations, we need to be able to take information on that it's important and relevant to us the same way that non-deaf people can act. And that the same goes for First Nations people. And also with the crisis about what's happening in Afghanistan with the refugees, we should also have access to that information as well, the same as the wider community so we can make our informed decisions. And in relation to COVID. I do understand that state based Premiers do have their own press conferences. But if we look back at a national level, what about the information about vaccines to be shared and shared evenly across the federation? The Prime Minister is the head of our state, and he is making decisions for us as a wider population. And we have the right to access to know what is being said. Otherwise, it becomes selective inclusion.

Thomas Oriti 2:39
Have you been in contact with the Prime Minister's office about this yet?

Jennifer Blyth 2:44
We have sent a letter to the Prime Minister's but we haven't had a response.

Thomas Oriti 2:48
Is this just an issue on a federal level for you or is it your view that other politicians and health authorities at such a critical time also need to act?

Jennifer Blyth 3:00
I believe that all across the country at the national, federal and state level, the governments do need to provide access. They're our representation. How can Deaf people make a decision on who they vote for? How can we also practice our citizenship? How can we do that? If we don't have access information at a political level, especially when this information is in relation to health and health distance, the Department of Health at a federal level? They have provided interpreters and Deaf interpreters, which is even better, it is a fantastic standard of access that they're showing. But the Prime Minister's department hasn't.

Thomas Oriti 3:40
The Prime Minister's Office told us they've ensured an interpreter is present when giving urgent information to the public. But they've said that sometimes they'd be unavailable due to short notice. Is that a reasonable excuse when it comes to reaching and organising interpreters and do they need to be more readily available?

Jennifer Blyth 4:01
I am aware that the Deaf Services are able to procure an interpreter at any time because they do see this as a national critical issue to make sure the information is accessible for Deaf people across Australia. So I know that they can ensure an interpreter can be present regardless of short notice. They do also have technology in place to make sure that happens. There are people prepared out there to make sure interpreters can be there at short notice.

Thomas Oriti 4:27
Are you confident at the moment that people in Australia who are Deaf and hard of hearing are getting the public health information they need and on a timely basis.

Jennifer Blyth 4:38
I don't think that Deaf, Deafblind or hard of hearing people in Australia are getting timely, accurate information at the same time as the wider population. And I wanted to add one thing: live captions have a really high error rate. And people laugh about the little mistakes that come up in captions and also the nuances is getting lost in the English language when it is put into captions. It's important. Working with interpreters they're able to interpret for a meaning based translation. It's not English on the hand as interpreters are making sure that the meaning of the message that's being said in English is being conveyed in a culturally appropriate and linguistically appropriate way for the wider community to understand and that really conveys the emphasis and the severity and the true meaning of the message.

Thomas Oriti 5:32
So it's Jen Blyth, the CEO of Deaf Australia joining me there earlier with an Auslan interpreter of her own.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

CE’s update (17 September 2021)


Will be available soon

Auslan Translation: Template Letter to PM urging the use of Auslan interpreters


Your name


Mr. Scott Morrison 
Prime Minister

The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House


(or email directly here: https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm) <DELETE THIS PART WHEN DONE>

Dear Prime Minister,

I/we have seen that Auslan interpreters were used at your press conferences when COVID-19 was known to be a serious problem around the world and when it came to Australia. I/we have not seen the use of Auslan interpreters continue at your press conferences since then and I/we are concerned about this lapse in accessibility.    

We have become accustomed to seeing Auslan interpreters working next to the Premier in our state on a daily basis at his/her press conferences. It is really important that we are able to access information especially information that is critical, such as the bushfires of 2019/20 and COVID-19. Many Deaf and hard of hearing people are not fluent in English, so captioning is insufficient. Live captioning does not capture the nuance of the press conferences in the same way Auslan interpreters can. Live captioning often contains errors and missing information which is really concerning especially if the missing information is critical.

Auslan interpreters at press conferences on a daily basis should be the norm, not the exception. It does not signify how important the topic is; Auslan interpreters should always be present at your press conferences.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I look forward to hearing your response on this issue that concerns not just me but the Deaf and hard of hearing community too.


Your Name
Your Address
Phone number
Email address

Introducing our team


Hi! I’m excited to introduce this team. I’m Jen Blyth, Chief Executive of Deaf Australia.

Hello, I’m Shirley, I work as a community and development officer.

Hello, I’m Catherine, I work as a content writer.

Hello, I’m Sal, I’m the Auslan Shop co-ordinator.

Hello! I’m Rosalie, I work as an accountant.

Hello, I’m Paula, I’m a resource officer.

Hello, I’m Darlene, I work as a DRC (Disability Royal Commission) support officer.

This is our team, we’re really excited to work with you all in Australia!

Media Release – Masks and Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind people


We at Deaf Australia support the mandatory wearing of face masks to assist in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. We do wish to point out when communicating with Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind people this presents a significant challenge regardless of communication preferences. Muffled speech, the covering of lips, obscuring of facial expressions are some of the communication challenges experienced by Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind people. Not only that, mask wearing can be awkward and uncomfortable for those who wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. It can irritate Deafblind people with eye issues. We have been made aware of examples where human rights may have been violated through the refusal to communicate appropriately with Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people.

We wish to emphasise the following:

• The States and Territories’ governments have highlighted that communication with Deaf and hard of hearing people is a valid reason to remove the face mask while also maintaining appropriate distancing protocols where possible:
• Victoria
• New South Wales
• Queensland
• South Australia
• Western Australia
• Australian Capital Territory
• Tasmania
• Northern Territory
• We encourage the use of perspex clear face shields to make it easier for Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind people to communicate.

There are several strategies to communicate with Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind people. These include and are not limited to:

• The wearing of clear masks and/or face shields
• Speech to text apps – with the awareness that it is not always accurate. Masks muffle speech so it may not be accurately translated into text. Additionally, English is often the second language of Deaf people, so this is not always a useful solution
• Using phones with enlarged text to type in messages
• Using traditional pens and papers
• Auslan interpreters and certified Deaf interpreters where longer conversations are involved such as in a legal or medical setting.
• Many places such as convenience stores, supermarkets and cafes already have plexiglass barriers at the counter to protect their employees. These employees should be permitted to temporarily remove their masks upon request to aid with communication with Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing customers.
• These recommendations are meant to work in conjunction with the advice and recommendations of the Chief Public Health Officer/s and are not intended to supersede them.

Please note: It is never appropriate to use a child and/or a family member to interpret. Public officials should always endeavour to book Auslan interpreters (when the Deaf, Deafblind or hard of hearing person requests one) and/or talk directly with the Deaf, Deafblind or hard of hearing individuals using the above strategies.


Media Contact:
Jen Blyth, Chief Executive
e: [email protected]
SMS ONLY: 0477 551 844

About Deaf Australia

Deaf Australia is the Deaf-led peak organisation representing Deaf people in Australia. We promote the advancement of human rights and equality for Deaf people by collaborating with our members and stakeholders in implementing the United Nations Conventions and the National Disability Strategy. Deaf Australia is for all Deaf, hard of hearing and non-deaf people and organisations (not-for-profit, for profit, or government) that use and/or accept and respect Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
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