Category: Archives

Expression of Interest

Deaf Australia is seeking Advocacy Officer – Disability Royal Commission who will be a key member of the Deaf Australia’s team in providing support, engage and promote the Disability Royal Commission to members of the deaf community, their families and supporters and to undertake relevant submissions and provide expert advice to the Disability Royal Commission.

The Advocacy Officer shall work for 2 days a week until 30 June 2022 and will require practical experience in:

  • Broad knowledge and understanding of deaf issues;
  • Auslan skills;
  • Written skills;
  • Communication skills; and
  • If relevant, formal tertiary qualification in the Arts/ Social Science or equivalent.

For further inquiry for this position and/or to send expression of interest, please contact Mr. Kyle Miers, Chief Executive at [email protected], outlining your experience and attaching current resume/curriculum vitae.

EOI – Close 14 August 2020.

Download EOI

Public Statement – Deaf Australia’s Ambassador Program

In the last few weeks, Deaf Australia has seen and heard the deaf community’s concern and confusion about our Ambassador Program and how we determine who we appoint as our Ambassadors.

For many years, Deaf Australia did not have a Patron. A Patron is a high-profile person who can lend their name to help raise the profile of our organisation. It was difficult to find someone who would take on this role.  

In 2014, Deaf Australia created a new program, ‘Deaf Australia Ambassador’. This allowed us to have several people to increase awareness about Auslan, deaf people and Deaf Australia through their expertise, rather than having just one Patron.

Based on the recommendation of a board member, we agreed to appoint Ms Drisana Leviztke-Gray and Mr Andy Dexterity as our inaugural Ambassadors for Deaf Australia.

As part of our Ambassador Program, we were to develop guidelines on how Ambassadors should conduct themselves in their role to align with our values and principles.

Unfortunately, due to demands on our time and lack of human resources, we were unable to develop the guidelines. This led to confusion about what the role was for and concern within the deaf community. Mr Dexterity stepped down from his role as an Ambassador in 2019.

Deaf Australia regrets that we were unable to develop the guidelines and we apologise for the confusion and concern that this caused.

Deaf Australia is suspending the Deaf Australia Ambassador Program.  We will be reviewing the program and ensuring that we have appropriate guidelines, code of conduct and agreements in place before re-commencing the program.

Deaf Australia would like to express our appreciation to Ms Levitzke-Gray with her ongoing support for Deaf Australia, including through her success as Young Australian of the Year in 2015. Drisana raised funds of over $13,000 for Deaf Australia through her connections with Woolworths and the Dick Smith Foundation.  

Download Public Statement

  • END

Media Release – Deaf Seniors to Access Aged Care Services with Auslan Assistance

Deaf seniors over 65 years of age can finally access Auslan supported services with the Aged Care Services.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, has announced yesterday that a free sign language interpreting services will soon be available for seniors who are deaf and deafblind or hard of hearing and allow them to access appropriate assistance to aged care services.

Deaf Australia is pleased that the Government has ‘heard’ the call from the deaf community, including the Australian Deaf Elders, to fill the gap with the existing services that leave deaf seniors vulnerable and at risk of negligence.

Auslan (Australian Sign Language) is the primary or preferred language of many sign language users and rely on Auslan to gain information and make informed decisions that otherwise cannot be acquired without Auslan service.

This comprehensive new sign language interpreting service will make our aged care system far more accessible for people who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing’, said Minister Colbeck.

Auslan Connections will be responsible to provide interpreting services for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing seniors to access aged care services.

Additional Information:

National Auslan Booking Services (NABS) will continue to be provided to non-registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants until 31 March 2021 to access interpreting assistance for private medical appointments. From 1 April 2021, this service will be available only for seniors over 65 and/or who are ineligible for NDIS. 

Download Media Release

  • END

Media Release – Census 2021


For the first time, the National 2021 Census will refer to ‘Auslan’ as a language option. This is a major win for the Deaf Community in their struggle to have Auslan users   recognised in the population. Deaf Australia has been working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics since 2007 to address the issue of adding ‘Auslan’ as one of the language options.

Deaf Australia had attempted to amend the 2011 and 2016 Censuses without success. The Deaf Community conducted massive campaigns for its members to write down ‘Auslan’ in the ‘If other, please write’ option in both Censuses. Despite this, Deaf Australia views that previous data collected is not reflective of the actual numbers of Auslan users in Australia. This was due to the limited reach of the campaigns and many Auslan users still unaware they could write it as an ‘other’ language.

The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreting has stated that Auslan interpreting is third highest language provision behind Arabic and Mandarin (Chinese) languages in Australia. Despite this – and based on the Census 2016 – Auslan is ranked 44th as an ‘other’ language and as such does not warrant a significant profile as the top 5 languages.

Statistics show Auslan was first recorded in the 2001 Census. Since then, every Census has noted a significant increase of Auslan users.  In 2001 Auslan users numbered 5,306. This increased to 11,682 in 2016.

In the 2021 Census, the question asking ‘Does (person) use a language other than English at home? the prompt question in the ‘other language’ will state, “If other, for example, Auslan, please write here’.

Speaking about the Census 2021 new language option, Deaf Australia Chairperson, Todd Wright, said,

The inclusion of “Auslan” as a prompt in the ‘other’ language option is a significant win for the Deaf Community. This will make it easier for us to determine more accurately the number of Auslan users in Australia enabling us to work more effectively towards greater participation, awareness and addressing the community’s needs.’

Black Lives Matter

Presented by Rodney Adams, Director – Deaf Australia

We, Deaf Australia, stand by people who are wrongfully discriminated, and experience abuse and racism. Australia too has its own problem.

Racism, unfortunately dominates in Australia. This past week we celebrate National Reconciliation Week to highlight many racial issues in our community. Yesterday Australia gathered in major cities to protest the BLM ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. I I showed my support by joining the Darkinjung community here in the Central Coast NSW.

We held a minute silence to remember the 432 indigenous people who have lost their lives in police custody since 1991. The Royal Commission investigating into indigenous deaths in custody is a result of the 432 deaths recorded.

Many Indigenous Australians do not receive fair justice, and as many as 85% of Indigenous Australians currently in jail have undiagnosed hearing loss. They couldn’t access adequate supports and services that they needed in their life, instead their lives have broken down and now it’s difficult to move on without adequate support.

This deep-rooted discrimination and systematic oppression must stop.

We are all responsible for educating ourselves, learning and working hard to change this.


Open Letter – Interpreter on Broadcast Networks

1 June 2020

Deaf Australia and the members of the Deaf Community in Australia wish to express sincere appreciation for the Australian government (both state/ territory and Federal) providing Auslan interpreters during COVID-19 briefings and announcements.

Having accurate knowledge ensures Deaf people can make informed decisions and take appropriate action to protect themselves, their family and the community. Deaf people as citizens, have helped to flatten the curve and been part of assisting to get Australia back on its feet.

This is not the time for Government to become complacent regarding the provision of Auslan interpreters during important briefing to all citizens of Australia. As restrictions are slowly being eased, everyone, including Deaf people, need to know what is happening. When an Auslan interpreter is not provided, the Government is perceived as being discriminatory to Deaf citizens.

Governments have the responsibility to ensure every citizen in Australia is informed, including Deaf people. This occurs through media conferences and briefings. Information delivered to all Australian citizens takes place on a number of important topics in addition to updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of the Deaf citizens in Australia we request that the government consider the communication needs of Deaf people in a proactive manner, not as an afterthought. This provision requires planning and processes that are clear and mandated. This provision of services needs to be imbedded into each government’s communication strategy.

Broadcasters share the responsibility for ensuring interpreters are displayed appropriately. Broadcasters are returning to their pre-COVID-19 processes where Auslan interpreters (when present) are cut out of the footage displayed on the TV screen, on social media postings and the internet, leaving deaf people without access to Auslan interpreted briefings. This needs to be addressed urgently. The current situation in many cases is that broadcasters are actively discriminating against Deaf people.

Deaf Australia calls on the Australian and state/territory Governments to ensure all media briefings and announcements are accessible to all citizens which requires the inclusion of Auslan interpreters and captions.

Deaf Australia calls on Broadcasters to ensure that the Auslan interpreters are included in all media footage and are able to be viewed clearly at all times.  This requires at least 1/3 of the TV screen displaying the Auslan interpreter and is unobstructed from all network banners and captioning displays.

We request these changes in good faith and recognise that in order to regulate this service, legislation may need to be introduced to ensure compliance. We request this be investigated and actioned to ensure the rights to media access are afforded to Deaf citizens as is the case for all others.

On behalf of Deaf citizens, Deaf Australia request an urgent common-sense approach to this issue that ensures Deaf people are afforded dignity. Deaf Australia believes that all levels of government are responsible to provide duty of care to all citizens of this great country.

Download Open Letter


Interpreter on TV

Since the Bushfires last year, Deaf Australia sent letters to Premiers and Prime Minister reminding them their obligations to provide interpreters on TV, obligation outlined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

This has been supported by a research conducted by Curtin University where they demonstrated that live captioning is riddled with errors. This presents Deaf Australia with tangible evidence for the need of Auslan interpreter in these announcements.

Since then, most briefings from Prime Minister’s Office and Premier’s Offices include interpreters in these announcements. They are to be congratulated for their commitment to ensure Auslan users are receiving information in natural language.

This is only one part of overall picture. The provisioning of interpreting falls under the government’s responsibility.

The second part is the delivery of interpreters on televisions which falls under broadcaster’s responsibility.

Deaf Australia need to work intermediately between two parties, the government and the broadcasters. 

Deaf Australia and many members of the deaf community have often expressed concerns about the delivery of interpreter when there are too many obstacles such as banners and captioning overlapping the interpreter during its broadcast.

Deaf Australia has raised this with FreeTV who provide policy support for Channel 7, 9 and 10 and they have responded that they do not see a problem with these issues.

Deaf community around Australia have been providing regular updates on Auslan Media Access Facebook page and Deaf Australia has been monitoring this page to provide us with evidences to discuss with relevant authorities to improve the delivery of interpreter on television.

Deaf Australia has developed guidelines for broadcasters to appropriately use interpreter on the screen. In this guideline, we requested that interpreter is shown as 1/3 of the screen and not 1/8 of the screen. This guideline has not been followed by the industry.

Deaf Australia as member of Disability Support Services Committee which comprised with several Government agencies and many peak disability organisations, I have specifically raised issue with the Government agencies and their communication team and wished to discuss this as an opportunity to improve the delivery of interpreting on television.

I have provided them with samples of images and outlined issue of each image as problems and also provided them with sample of non-interpreted sessions that broadcaster can easily do 1/3 screen.

Channel 10 has improved their delivery and we wish to congratulate Channel 10 for taking our advice.

The other channels haven’t taken the advice and yesterday, I sent another correspondence and provided them with additional images to Communication Team to remind them that this is an ongoing issue that needs to be resolved.

We are seeing some improvements, but there is more work to do.

I wish to say thank you to Deaf Community for their continuing support and providing evidences in Auslan Media Access as they are useful for our advocacy work.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Covid-19 Updates (COVIDSafe)

Deaf Australia wishes to say thank you for helping to flatten the Covid-19 in the last few weeks. We are looking forward to easing the restrictions as there are fewer Covid-19 cases that are emerging.

We wish to remind you that there is potential ‘2nd wave’ of Covid-19 and for all of us to maintain our social distance until vaccination become available. Recent work into vaccination are promising and they need to go through steps to ensure that the vaccination is safe for people.

Deaf Australia encourage members of the Deaf community to download ‘COVIDSafe’ App that will help tracking other people or to yourself should you get in touch with someone who have COVID.

It is also important that having the App does not mean you are safe; it means it offers you and the community with extra precautions to stem down the Covid-19 and to assist Health officers to quickly contact the others to control the Covid-19.

Some people are worried about privacy. It is important to know that the App only have your name, your age range and post code. Government do not have other details. All activities are stored in your phone and is stored for 21 days. After 21st day, your activities will be deleted.

If and when you have Covid-19, the health official will ask you to upload your information from COVID-19. They will use this information to track your contacts in the 21 days to make to minimise the spread.

We need your help to flatten the Covid-19. To download the App, you can go to App Store for Android and Apple. It is free.

For more information about COVIDSafe, please visit this website: 

Easter 2020 – Updates

Easter 2020 – Updates

Deaf Australia submitted ‘Issues and Challenge with Telehealth Service and Medical Services for Auslan users during Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the Advisory Committee formed by Morrison Government focusing on provision of medical supports for People with Disability. You can find this document here.

The document recommends the following:

  1. That the Government provide an instructional video in Auslan describing to deaf community how to use a Telehealth services, showing examples of different technologies (tablet, iPad, smartphone);
  2. That the Government fund deaf people through their NDIS or My Aged Care and individuals not eligible for either programs to cover their out-of-pocket costs for required use of video interpreting services;
  3. That the Government enter an agreement with reputable interpreting agencies to provide interpreting services for the telehealth service; whereby the agencies shall:
    • Be listed as primary Telehealth Interpreting Services;
    • Ensure that interpreters are appropriately qualified for these bookings; and
    • Be compensated for the service rendered. 
  4. That the COVID-19 National Health Plan (factsheet) to contain listings of agreed interpreting services available for Deaf people to make informed choices of which agency to use for their Telehealth appointment;
  5. In the case where a deaf person is required to be hospitalised, the hospital is responsible to source an interpreter through their current arrangement, however, interpreters must be provided with appropriate protection gear when required; 
  6. If the hospital is unable to bring an interpreter onsite, then they should use a video-enabled tablet to connect with the interpreter while providing care to the deaf patient; and
  7. The Department of Health to explore enhancing its remote hospital service to allow 3-way video-connections so that doctors can provide support remotely through remote interpreters with a deaf person in a medical service.

We also discussed with Department of Social Services the following topics:

  • Telehealth (as above)
  • Deaf children studying at home
  • Seniors requiring to stay at home with little or no communication supports

We also met with World Federation of the Deaf and is joined by New Zealand and Fiji to discuss the following topics:

  • Interpreter on TV
  • Deaf children’s education (study at home)
  • Access to medical services and
  • Use of technology and devices to enable access to essential services.

World Federation of the Deaf advised that the upcoming World Federation of the Deaf International Conference held in Thailand (2021) has not been changed but will monitor the situation, as with World Federation of the Deaf Congress in South Korea in 2023.

Thank you to deaf organisations and ASLIA for contribution to the work that Deaf Australia does.

Keep safe, stay well during the Easter Weekend.

Open Letter to the National Cabinet

We are a diverse range of organisations from across Australia, representing the interests of people with disability, their families, carers and support persons. Collectively, we have significant, direct and growing knowledge of the impact of Coronavirus (COVID19) on people with disability in Australia.

Australians with disability represent some of the most excluded of all Australians in relation to the impacts of Coronavirus. Our needs remain largely forgotten as evidenced by the fact that people with disability are rarely if ever, mentioned in any press conference, media release or government conversation about Coronavirus. The national discourse relating to Coronavirus is inherently ableist – preferencing able-bodied people as the norm. This ableist discourse is resulting in the exclusion of people with disability in efforts to prevent the spread of and address, the impact of the Coronavirus.

We are deeply concerned by the lack of specific and targeted measures from Australian Governments to proactively protect and support people with disability, their families, carers and support persons from the impact of COVID19.

We call on all Australian Governments to take the following URGENT actions to protect the lives of Australians with disability in the context of COVID19:

  1. Guarantee continuity of supports for all people with disability
  2. Expand criteria for COVID19 testing to include people with disability and their support persons.
  3. Urgently improve information and communications to be inclusive of all people with disability.
  4. Take measures to remove the barriers to adequate healthcare for people with disability.
  5. Include recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) in the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight.
  6. Urgently define what constitutes an ‘essential service’ for people with disability.
  7. Ensure effective measures are in place to recognise and respond to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of people with disability.
  8. Prevent discrimination of students with disability in the provision of education.
  9. Ensure the human rights of people with disability in congregate and other settings are upheld.
  10. Adequately resource Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) and Disability Representative Organisations (DROs) to enable support of, and advocacy for, people with disability.

To view the full Open Letter

To view the full Open Letter (Easy Read)

Supporting Disability Organisations

First Peoples Disability Network
Women with Disabilities Australia
People with Disability Australia
National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Children and Young People with Disability Australia
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
Disability Advocacy Network Australia
Deaf Australia
Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia
Deafblind Australia
Deafness Forum of Australia
Brain Injury Australia
Inclusion Australia
Blind Citizens Australia
Down Syndrome Australia
Physical Disability Australia
Every Australian Counts
Disability Resources Centre Advocacy
Disability Justice Australia
Enhanced Lifestyles
National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum
Imagine More
Advocacy Western Australia
Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service
Melbourne East Disability Advocacy
Queensland Advocacy Incorporated
Family Advocacy
Grampians Disability Advocacy
Syndromes Without A Name
Advocacy Tasmania
Southwest Advocacy Association
Victorian Rural Advocacy Network
Assert 4 All
Colac Otway Region Advocacy Service
Disability Information and Advocacy Service
Gipplsland Disability Advocacy
Community Resource Unit
AED Legal Centre
Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health
People with Disabilities Western Australia
Association for Children with Disability Tasmania
Association for Children with a Disability Victoria
All Means All
Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education
Southern Disability Advocacy
Rights Information and Advocacy Centre
Regional Disability Advocacy Service
Youth Disability Advocacy Service
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
Barwon Disability Resource Council
North East Citizen Advocacy
Julia Farr Youth
Leadership Plus
Women with Disabilities Victoria
Citizens Advocacy Perth West
Speakout Advocacy
Developmental Disability WA
Women with Disabilities ACT
Council for Intellectual Disability
Citizen Advocacy Sunbury
South Australian Council on Intellectual Disability
Parent to Parent Queensland
People with Disabilities ACT
Aspergers Victoria
Disability Advocacy and Complaints Service of South Australia
Disability Advocacy Victoria

Skip to content