Category: Deaf Australia Activities

2023 AGM Recap


D: Hi Julie, how are you?

J: Hi Debra, how are you? Tell me what happened at the AGM yesterday? I heard about some changes.

D: Yes, our 37th AGM for Deaf Australia was really successful. A big thank you to all our members who voted for the passing of the motion for two major changes: 1. Change from INC to Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) and 2. A new constitution with amendments added.

J: Can you tell me more about the change from INC to CLG?

D: Sure, the reason for the change to a company is to make advocacy smoother for Deaf Australia and to make it easier to work with for all of Australia as a CLG.

J: Great! It's a really exciting time for the changes for Deaf Australia and our future.

D: Definitely. I also want to let the community members know that we will update them as we progress with the changes over time from INC to CLG, and with the constitution. We will share the amendments with everyone.

J: It's exciting to see new things happening for the entire Deaf community in Australia.

D: True, it's very exciting for the future of Deaf Australia – really exciting times.

J: Thank you for telling me the updates. See you later. Bye.

Visual description

Debra Swann and Julie Lyons are outside chatting about the events at the recent DA 2023 AGM. Debra is wearing a black shirt and brown jacket. Julie is wearing a red shirt and black cardigan. They both have glasses. They are signing in an animated fashion towards each other. The background is full of Australian native plants in a range of silvery-greens.

2023 Awards Winners Announced!


[JULIE LYONS] Hello hello! How are you?
[KARTHIK VIJAYANANDAM] Hello, I’m good! Yourself?
[JL] Good, thank you. Hey, have you heard about the AGM?
[KV] Yup, I did.
[JL] Can you tell me more about the awards that were announced?
[KV] Yeah, no problem! There were 3 awards presented, I will explain the first 2. The first one is the Deaf Australian of the Year award. The second one is the Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year award.
[JL] Well who are they?
[KV] I will explain now. The Deaf Australian of the Year award goes to Jas Shirrefs (they/them)!
[JL] Can you tell me more about what they are involved in?
[KV] Jas is an impressive advocate for Deaf people. And not only for Deaf people! Also for the Deaf blind community, LGBTQ+ community, and the list goes on.
[JL] Wow all three!
[KV] And not only in Victoria, Australia-wide also. Through their social media they spread information and awareness about a variety of topics. They focus on intersectionality, the Deaf community, and awareness of global news using Auslan. Wow!
[JL] I have heard they are very inclusive, they want to involve everyone including Deaf blind people. Often Deaf blind people are forgotten about and we have to make sure they are included. It’s fantastic.
[KV] Yeah, that’s right. A perfect example, recently they were a part of deaf arts residency (DARE) in July. Jas was a part of that. They made sure the group thought of how to be inclusive of Deaf blind people. They made sure we organised a communication guide tour. It meant that Deaf blind people were able to access the event. A few other people were like “Ah, I’ve never thought of that!” So that is how Jas was a strong advocate for Deaf blind people. That’s really fantastic.
[JL] Incredible!
[Both] Congratulations Jas!
[JL] How about the other prize, Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year?
[KV] The winner of the Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year award goes to William Maggs (he/they)!
[JL] Fantastic. They’re a brilliant young man.
[KV] So how do we decide who wins this award? Actually, this decision comes from the Darwin family. Do you know Ann Darwin?
[JL] Yes that’s right, I know the Darwin family. I have seen her work, it’s really special.
[KV] Right! So Ann has been involved in Deaf Australia for 20 years. So, DA and Darwin family have agreed that William Maggs shall be the winner this year.
[JL] Will, well done! I think it’s fantastic to see more Deaf people getting involved in volunteer work and being a role model. Finally getting recognition for their work.
[KV] And on top that, he’s really young! Only 21 years old. They’ve made time to volunteer in numerous projects while still studying at university.
[JL] I’ve seen their art work. But they always explain about other peoples’ work, too. If it was me, I wouldn‘t think to share everyone’s work. I think it’s fantastic to see young people like this.
[KV] I agree, absolutely.
[JL] Wow, congratulations again Will! Now, I am interested to know the process for how Deaf people in the community can nominate someone for next year. Can you explain the nomination process to me?
[KV] Of course! Thank you, that’s a great question. This year we received a lot of nominations. So the board split up to tackle the work for both of the awards categories. We decide based on the information we receive. Some people who were nominated, we receive a few paragraphs about them. If they have examples of their impact on a local level, a national level and possibly even international level of impact. This means that the board takes into consideration how widespread their work impacts around Australia. Our recommendation is if you have a nominee you want to submit, try to explain to us in detail about them as much as possible. This way we, the board, can recognise if their influence is on a local, national or international level. And then we’ll pick the right person!
[JL] One more question, can the community submit their nominees information in Auslan or written English?
[KV] We accept both, you can do both.
[JL] Great! Well, I think we’ve used up all our time! We’ll leave the community to think about their nominees for next year 2024. They can brainstorm their picks and prepare their submissions to send to us. We will do more promoting and announce a bit more when we are ready to receive your nominations next year. Thanks for explaining it all to me, and I’ll see you later!
[KV] You’re welcome.
[Both] Bye!

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic image features white text on a blue and green gradient background. At the top there is a white Deaf Australia logo. In the middle there is a winner award icon with "Awards 2023" written in it. Text reads "Winners Announced! Deaf Australian & Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year. Message from Deaf Australia Board."

Video features Deaf Australia board members Karthik Vijayanandam and Julie Lyons discussing recent winners for the 2023 Deaf Australian of the Year Award and the 2023 Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year Award. They are chatting over Zoom in different environments. Karthik is sitting in an office chair with a white background behind him. Julie sitting outside with a bamboo grass wall behind her. They both looks happy to be discussing this topic.

Closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-leg advocacy and information organisation in Australia representing all Deaf, Deafblind, and hard-of-hearing people and others who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as their language of preference. Contact us: [email icon] [email protected], [website icon], [Instagram and Twitter icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

Congratulations to all of our 2023 Awards winners!

Deaf Australian
of the Year

Jas Shirrefs

Deaf Youth Australian
of the Year

Shanleigh Meldrum

Deaf Community
Volunteer of the Year

William Maggs

Read more about their achievements below:
Deaf Australian
of the Year

Jas Shirrefs

Jas has been nominated Jas for their efforts in creating a more socially conscientious, empowered and considerate Australian Deaf community. Jas is a dedicated human rights activist with an intersectional lens, with the Deaf community at the heart of their work.

Over the past few years, they have mobilised the use of social media and their art practice to advocate and raise awareness about various social issues with a focus on providing access to information in Auslan as well as empowering the Australian Deaf and hard of hearing community.

They also have a strong passion for calling out biases and negative attitudes towards the deafblind community. Jas always considers the access and experience of deafblind people through the development and exhibition of their artwork, resulting in an art practice that is inherently inclusive with a focus on tactile artwork.

For example, during the decision-making process for the Deaf DARE residency project. Jas played an instrumental role in ensuring that the space was inclusive for Deaf-blind people including being involved in organising tactile tours specifically for Deaf-blind people across Australia.

Deaf Youth Australian
of the Year

Shanleigh Meldrum

Shanleigh’s outstanding contributions are being acknowledged today, as she has been nominated by a community member for her remarkable efforts at Bendigo Deaf Hub and her dedication to volunteering with the State Emergency Service (SES). Notably, she has played a pivotal role in establishing youth spaces across regional Victoria specifically designed for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) youth.

Recognising her commitment, the Victorian Government has honored Shanleigh for her volunteer work, a testament to her impactful contributions. In a noteworthy achievement, she was included in the Victorian Women Honour Roll for the year 2023.

Shanleigh has actively participated in emergency management forums, leveraging her involvement to raise awareness about the critical importance of disability inclusion and accessibility during emergencies. Her advocacy efforts have yielded tangible results, contributing to long-term benefits for Deaf, HoH, and Deafblind youth in regional and rural Victoria. Through her tireless work, she has heightened awareness of their unique needs, both in terms of mental and physical health.

In summary, Shanleigh’s dedication to fostering inclusivity and accessibility, particularly for the Deaf, HoH, and Deafblind youth in regional Victoria, has left an indelible mark. Her passion for emergency management and advocacy has not only garnered recognition from the community but has also translated into meaningful improvements in the lives of those she serves.

Deaf Community
Volunteer of the Year

William Maggs

William is a long-time member, multigenerational from Deaf family and he has volunteer his time not only in the South Australia Deaf Community but also within Australia Community. So as a young achiever, we believe he should recognise for their contribution especially over the last 12 months:

1. He has volunteer and a member of Deaf Rainbow NSW during the World Pride helping to organise events suitable for members of the Deaf Community. This involved organised gathering, set up of float, attending meetings, and designing marketing and logo branding all in his own time and cost.

2. He also Volunteer to be a Camp Presenter/Leader at the Crossing Boarder Camp in Brisbane in 2023. One week of extensive workshops, presenting to young emerging leaders, looking after young people, supervising, and doing photography for the camp.

3. Volunteered as a Youth participate attending Canberra to take part of the National Week of Deaf People at the Youth Parliamentary breakfast.

4. Been involved with the Deaf Gain Project and Panels as basically a volunteer work. This became a passion job for William to organise, set up and volunteer his own time for marketing and everything for this amazing project. This involves working with other members in other states and engaging them in the project.

5. Volunteer for the Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE) Gallery Events as event organiser setting up, bumping in and out to ensure the events run smoothly.

6. Worked with Adelaide TAFE SA for special events stall works. As a young achiever doing so much volunteering work all while he is also study at university, we believe is amazing to see that not only he volunteer at a local level in his community but also in the wider Australia Deaf Community.

Auslan Santa 2023

Sign up information​

Santa Photography Key Dates:
Bookings open: 19 October 2023
Santa’s arrival in Westfield centres: From 12 November 2023
Photography dates: From 12 November (may vary by centre) until 24 December 2023

Sign up for a booking with Auslan Santa

Westfield Liverpool:
● Thursday 23 November from 4pm – 7pm

Westfield Chatswood: 
● Sunday 26 November from 3pm – 6pm

Westfield Tuggerah:
● Wednesday 29 November from 3pm – 6pm

Westfield Parramatta:
● Wednesday 13 December from 4pm – 7pm

Westfield Miranda:
● Saturday 16 December from 9am – 12pm


Westfield Fountain Gate:
● Saturday 18 November from 3pm – 3pm
● Sunday 19 November from 3pm – 6pm

Westfield Southland:
● Thursday 23 November from 5pm – 8pm

Westfield Geelong:
● Sunday 26 November from 3pm – 6pm


Westfield Chermside:
● Wednesday 15 November from 3:30pm – 6:30pm
● Friday 1 December from 3:30pm – 6:30pm
● Friday 8 December from 3:30pm – 6:30pm

Westfield Coomera:
● Friday 17 November from 3pm – 6pm
● Friday 1 December from 9am – 12pm

Westfield North Lakes:
● Tuesday 28 November from 3:30pm – 7:30pm
● Tuesday 5 December from 3:30pm – 7:30pm


Westfield Woden:
● Sunday 19 November from 10am – 12pm

Westfield Belconnen:
● Sunday 19 November from 2pm – 4pm


Westfield Tea Tree Plaza:
● Tuesday 14 November from 6pm – 9pm

Westfield Marion:
● Wednesday 15 November from 5:30pm – 8:30pm


Westfield Carousel:
● Friday 17 November from 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Westfield Whitford City:
● Friday 1 December from 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Media Release (English)
Sign up for a booking with Auslan Santa

37th Annual General Meeting (AGM)


Hello all. Deaf Australia will have its 37th Annual General Meeting on Saturday 18th November 2023 at 2PM Sydney/Melbourne time. Our AGM will be at Meat Market in North Melbourne. We will utilise a hybrid model, which means the AGM will be in person and live streamed online. Please register for the AGM so we can organise catering for those who will be attending in person.

There are some important information related to voting at the AGM.

Our new Constitution with big changes eg. length of membership becoming annual not lifetime. Please make sure you read the proposed new Constitution prior to the AGM. You will get a copy of the new Constitution along with this Notice.

Deaf Australia plans to change from an incorporated association to Company Limited by Guarantee. The change needs to be voted by members.

Board nominations as there are three positions available. If you are interested in joining the Deaf Australia Board, please send your nomination form by Sunday 5th November 2023.

If you are unable to attend our AGM but would like to vote, please send your Proxy and Apology form by Sunday 12th November 2023.

If you have any items to be added to the Agenda, please email our CEO by Sunday 5th November 2023. The email address is [email protected].

During the AGM, we will also present three awards: Deaf Australian of the Year, Deaf Youth Australian of the Year, and Community Volunteer of the Year.

Deaf Australia will also facilitate a Q&A evening on Friday 17th November 2023, the day before our AGM. This is to give you an opportunity to get clarification or ask questions about our new Constitution. More information will be shared soon. Hope to see you there!

Dear Member,

Deaf Australia Inc will hold its thirty-seventh (37th) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday 18 November at 2.00 PM (Melbourne/Sydney) time at the Meat Market, North Melbourne, which will also be livestreamed online. 

To register in advance for the Annual General Meeting: Register here for online attendance. If you wish to attend in person, please fill out the RSVP form here

After registering, we will check your details against our membership database.* 

Important note: Make sure your full name and email address correspond with our database.

View attached PDFs:

  1. the notice of Annual General Meeting (PDF) | Watch the Auslan video above or on Vimeo
  2. the agenda for this meeting (PDF)
  3. the minutes of the last AGM (PDF)
  4. the minutes of the last SGM (PDF)
  5. the Annual Report (PDF)
  6. the Audited financial report (PDF)
  7. the new Constitution (PDF)

Q&A evening – 17th November 2023Deaf Australia will also run a Q&A evening on the 17th November 2023 at 6pm Melbourne/Sydney time where members will have the opportunity to get clarification or ask questions about our new constitution. Please register here.

Important dates deadline:

  1. Submit Board of Director nomination forms by Sunday, 5 November 2023;
  2. Propose your meeting agenda item/s by Sunday, 5 November 2023;
  3. Submit Apology and Proxy form by Sunday, 12 November 2023;
  4. Deaf Australia Awards 2023 Nominations by Sunday, 5 November 2023;

Quick Links:

*Note: Members of the public that are not DA members may join us at the in-person event in Melbourne or watch online via FB Livestream (not the Zoom meeting). However, they cannot vote or participate in matters of governance.

Highlights from the Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament House in Canberra


Video 1:

[All three] Hello, hello, hello!

[Debra] I'm Debra Swann, Chairperson of Deaf Australia.

[Catherine] I'm Catherine, usually a Policy Writer, but I'm here today to fill in for Jen's speech.

[Shirley] I'm Shirley, my role is Community and Youth Advocate.

[Debra] We are here in Canberra at Parliament House, and you might wonder why we are here?

[Catherine] We’re here for the National Week of Deaf People. We’re meeting all these impressive people.

[Shirley] We're excited for this upcoming lecture and networking opportunity with our government representatives, and it's wonderful that there are 11 youth representatives from all over Australia, the leaders of the future.

[All three] Definitely. Thank you and goodbye!

Video 2:

[Both] Hello, hello!

[Debra] We're here at Parliament House for the breakfast event with MPs, where we have the opportunity to network. How do you feel?

[Anabelle] I'm feeling inspired seeing young deaf representatives asking questions to the MPs, and they even interacted with Bill Shorten – that's just awesome! How about you?

[Debra] I'm also feeling inspired, seeing such diversity come together and question the MPs, showing them the main issues we face here in Australia.

[Anabelle] It's also great to have Auslan represented here in Parliament House with actual government officials. I think it's brilliant.

[Debra] Yes, absolutely brilliant.

[Both] Thank you, thank you.

Visual descriptions

Opening slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo and Deaf Youth Australia logo on a blue and purple gradient background. There is a photograph of Catherine, Debra and Shirley standing in front of a Deaf Australia and Deaf Connect banner. Text reads "Deaf Australia and Deaf Youth Australia Updates. Highlights from the Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament House in Canberra. Published 13 September 2023."

Video: Features two video updates from various Deaf Australia and Deaf Youth Australia staff and board members about their recent trip to Canberra for a Parliamentary Breakfast. Between the two videos is a slideshow of some images from the events.

Closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-leg advocacy and information organisation in Australia representing all Deaf, Deafblind, and hard-of-hearing people and others who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as their language of preference. Contact us: [email icon] [email protected], [website icon], [Instagram and Twitter icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

Summary of the National Suicide Prevention Conference


Hi. This video is about a variety of sensitive topics such as suicide and childhood sexual abuse. Some of the things mentioned in this video may be triggering for those who may have lived or living experience of suicide. It is a heavy video. Please don't watch if you're not feeling up to it. If at any time you need help, please contact us. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact Lifeline or Beyond Blue for support, or contact your local GP to arrange further psychological support.

Last week I attended the national suicide prevention conference. It was a heavy, intense 4 days. The first day consisted of pre-conference workshops, then the next three days were the conference. So, the reason I went to the conference was that I was invited to present about Deaf people and suicide, and what the current state is. I wanted to encourage everyone to be aware of our community, to be more accessible and to provide us with the services that we need.

The pre-conference workshops were split into a morning and afternoon session, I can't speak to the afternoon workshop but the morning one that I attended was amazing. The workshop was to teach us how to talk about suicide and gave us tools on how to broach the topic with family or friends who we feel are giving off signs of suicidal ideation. A lot of people are frightened that if they were to talk to someone who is showing these signs, they may give the idea of suicide to them, however, that's not true. A lot of the time people are probably already thinking about it, or even if they aren't, asking them if they're thinking of suicide is not going to put any thoughts into their head. It's better to talk to them and let them know the things you've noticed and changed behaviours that indicate something is wrong. The workshop taught us signs to look for in a person, and what to do if the answer is yes. To be prepared to ask, do something, and support the person, rather than ignore the signs.

The workshop was impactful, it has empowered me and others to be more proactive and ask the question if we ever have concerns about someone's well-being. It's made me more willing to ask, as there is a lot of fear behind asking somebody if they're thinking about suicide. However, if the response is yes, the next step is to bring somebody in to help. You don't need to solve their problems; become their counsellor and you don't have to call 000 either. If the person is having suicidal thoughts you can ask to contact someone in their family to bring them in, or if they want to speak to a counsellor, you can arrange an appointment, and ask them if they want to go to the hospital. Ask them what they want to do, but don't ask them about methods and means. Just keep them safe and seek help.

Sometimes when asked the answer may be no, even though your intuition is telling you otherwise there's not much you can do. If they say yes, they are considering suicide, but don't want any of the help or assistance available. The training wasn't about going into depth with someone at that point in time. The aim is to have authentic conversations about this. The training gave me so much to think about and I plan on reaching out to the training providers to see if we can establish a specific training for those in the Deaf community who want to participate and gain a further understanding in this space. That training was powerful, it struck a chord with me. I must admit, I cried many times throughout the conference. As I was watching the presentations, I shed many tears at the heartfelt and heartbreaking content, the workshop however had the biggest impact on me.

I wasn't the only one, there were many other people attending who also cried throughout, I didn't see them, but the interpreters let me know. That was a nice advantage, they didn't tell me specific people but feedback on what they could see in the large audience's responses.

The afternoon workshop wasn't the right workshop for me, so I don't have anything to report on there.

The next day was the start of the 3-day conference. There were so many presentations, topics, and sessions on some profound subjects. I attended quite a few, so I'll give you summary of the lessons I took away from their sessions. One thing I learned was the highest percent of people globally who are likely to die by suicide are First Nations people. They are the most at-risk group. It's a huge problem.

One amazing presenter, Joe Williams, a First Nations former NRL Rugby player (I think?) and former Professional Boxer worked in the mental health sector and set up his own organisation to support First Nations young men and boys. He spoke about his history, and that in their language, they don't have a word for suicide. Now it happens, and it's a problem. His message was to allow Aboriginal people to take care of their own, and fix their problems without interference from others. It was interesting.

It was funny, in that presentation we should have heard from each speaker for 5 minutes, which we already know people love to speak and always go over their allotted time, however Joe became so passionate and presented so furiously about the current situation that it went for 45 minutes! The audience love it, they gave him a standing ovation. It was a great speech, however the lengthy video he showed didn't include captions. Many sessions and presentations I attended didn't caption their videos which was frustrating. I gave feedback about this and called for more accessibility.

Other themes of the conference spoke about the higher rate of males who die by suicide, the high rate of construction workers who take their own lives, and people who have experienced - and I want to give a trigger warning here - people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, are more likely to take their own life. There are so many groups who were highlighted as being more likely to die by suicide, Queer people are more likely to take their own lives. So many groups it almost felt like a competition, no that's not the right word, but so many at-risk communities, like the Autistic community and more likely. So many groups are 'more likely' to experience suicide and suicidal thoughts it was like all of them were equally high risk. Many numbers and statistics were given but I don't understand how? No one spoke about intersectionality. What about a First Nations, Deaf, Queer person? No one spoke about intersectional identities. It was all very siloed and focused on one identity at a time.

There wasn't anything about Disability! Disability was not spoken about at all. Apart from myself, a Deafblind attendee, and another attendee with autism, we were the only 3 people with a visible disability there. I couldn't believe the lack of inclusive representation. We are part of the communities they spoke about. All the at-risk cohorts that they mentioned; men, construction workers, LGBTQA, First Nations people, Deaf and Disabled people exist in all those intersections too!

One session spoke about the use of art such as poetry to help with articulating any thoughts, which works for some people. Strategies like exercise. Just checking my notes. There was a long session that spoke about the experience of pregnant women and new mothers. That one was particularly difficult for me. They spoke about Post Natal Depression, Post-Partum Depression, and the experiences after childbirth without the right support networks in place. The various feelings that mother experience, are ambivalent towards their babies, the conflict of feelings, love for the baby but lack of identity as a mother. They spoke about different risks contributing to this, such as babies requiring hospitalisation, and fear of child removal by child protection. The fact that many mothers want to ask for help but are worried they will have their kids taken away for asking for mental health help. It was such a big topic with so many complicating factors for mothers of newborns.

There was also a presentation about religion, as some religions forbid speaking about suicide as it goes against their beliefs and teachings. It called for all religions to talk about suicide in a way that doesn't frame it as a sin, as something that requires understanding from church leaders and congregation, it was interesting.

A presenter from Kids Helpline spoke about an alarming trend among boys who are more likely to take their own lives. One of the big problems being online behaviours. There is an increase in, and I want to tell all parents out there to please think of your kids. What they've seen is an increase in young boys chatting to someone who pretend to be a girl at their age via online communication. The 'girl' will initiate a conversation asking for a naked photo and may send a photo first asking the boy to send one in return. When the young boy does, the girl then threatens to share the photo with his family and friends if he doesn't pay a ransom. Often these young boys feels lost and don't know who to turn to out of shame and anxiety they instead turn to suicide. That made me think about the need for us to talk to our children about these dangers, the appropriate use of devices and online safety, not to send nude/naked photos and if they do, what to do if they find themselves in this situation. That suicide is not the answer. They need to reach out to friends and family for help and support.

Another speaker spoke about loneliness. Loneliness is a huge global issue. More and more people are experiencing loneliness, lacking connection with others and a sense of belonging. It's a big issue for many people, which again can lead people to have suicidal thoughts. I've felt lonely before, I'm sure many of you watching this video also know the feeling of being alone. It's important to have a network of friends, to be included in your community. We also share a responsibility in being more welcoming and inclusive to others to prevent loneliness.

Alcoholism was another subject covered at the conference. Drinking alcohol makes you more likely to die by suicide or have suicidal thoughts. The thought about the considerations of raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. They didn't speak about drug abuse; it was focused on alcohol consumption and its alarming contribution to death by suicide.

I gave my presentation, I spoke about the statistics in the Deaf community. For example, Deaf children born to hearing parents are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and attempts. Deaf children are more likely to experience childhood sexual abuse compared to hearing children. Deaf people are twice more likely to have suicidal thoughts and three times more likely to take their own lives. There are so many staggering statistics. As I presented, I asked that audience what they are doing about this. There is a lack of inclusion for Deaf and Disabled people, I called upon them to do better. I think my presentation had a positive impact; I had many people approach me afterwards commenting on it. I hope to see work happening in this space. Out of everything I learned, I realise we have a long, long way to go. Really, we are at the start. We need more kindness; we need more people to be considerate and look out for each other. I'm happy to chat further if you'd like to reach out.

I hope to attend next year's conference to promote inclusion for the Deaf community. Not only that but there is a lot of work currently underway. I've had many meetings with different organisations such as Roses in the Ocean, who are tasked with writing the National Suicide Prevention Strategy which was established by the Federal Government to consult with all communities on this issue. And to ensure suicide prevention is embedded throughout the whole of Government to save lives. The topic of Suicide is still a big topic here at Deaf Australia since the need was highlighted last year. I have regular meetings with various stakeholders to promote change. Yes, we want more Auslan, videos and resources produced in Auslan, but we know that isn't enough. We need to be able to access services directly in Auslan, with someone who can understand us. I have been advocating for that.

Our goal for this year is to highlight this area and encourage all those involved to prioritise this need. I feel like we have made a little progress and I hope by end of the year we make further progress to have infrastructure established for Deaf people to be able to call a helpline and engage with a Deaf or Auslan fluent person. My goal is for this to be for both Deaf children and adults. Secondly, I want to see funding allocated for suicide prevention for Deaf people by Deaf people, not tokenistic Auslan translations, but actual services. I also hope to partner with and create a Deaf specific suicide prevention workshop for our community to access the training.

Visual description

Jen has curly red hair and is sitting on a beige couch against a light colored wall. She is wearing a light grey cardigan and a black t-shirt. The topic is serious and her demeanor is somber and serious to match.

Deaf Australia are coming to Melbourne for NDIS Review sessions 


Hello! I’m Catherine! [shows sign name]. I work for Deaf Australia. And this Saturday we will have an NDIS Review. Deaf Australia has visited many different places all over Australia. Now Melbourne, it's your turn! What time does it start? 10am until 1pm. Where is it? Ross House in the city, on Flinders Lane. This is your opportunity to tell us about your experiences with the NDIS. It’s really important so we can let the NDIS know about your experience to improve their services for the Deaf community. Also, you will get paid for your time, of course.

Friday night, not tomorrow night, the next night [DA note: this was filmed on Wed 23rd Aug] we will have another event. It is the Community Consultation about the Deaf Australia Constitution with Sherrie [shows sign name]. It starts at 5:30pm until 8pm. It is at the same place: Ross House on Flinders Lane. Hope to see you there. Bye!


Visual descriptions

Visual description opening slide: Green and beige gradient background with white text. White Deaf Australia logo at the center top, white centered text, and a white button with green text. Text reads "Melbourne Events. Message from Melbourne Adult Session Host: Catherine. Friday 25th August: Community Consultation 5:30pm - 8pm. Saturday 26th August: NDIS Review 10am - 1pm. NDIS Youth Review 2pm - 5pm."
Visual description video: Catherine is wearing a light blue sweater and sitting against a beige background. She has short shoulder length brown hair and light skin. She is signing in a friendly and engaging way towards the camera.
Visual description closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-leg advocacy and information organisation in Australia representing all Deaf, Deafblind, and hard-of-hearing people and others who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as their language of preference. Contact us: [email icon] [email protected], [website icon], [Instagram and Twitter icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”


Hi. My name is Calvin [sign name]. I will be facilitating the youth NDIS review. This NDIS review is an opportunity for young Deaf people to give their feedback & opinion on what is and is not working. It is worth coming to share your opinion & feedback! See the other video for more information. Hope to see you there.

Visual descriptions

Visual description opening slide: Green and beige gradient background with white text. White Deaf Australia logo at the center top, white centered text, and a white button with green text. Text reads "NDIS Youth Review Melbourne. Message from Melbourne Youth Session Host: Calvin. Event is on Saturday 26 August 2pm - 5pm."

Visual description video: Calvin is a young person with short blonde hair. They are sitting in front of a beige screen and wearing a black t-shirt with their sign name illustration on it [t-shirts by Livi Creations]. They are signing in a friendly manner towards the camera.

Visual description closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-leg advocacy and information organisation in Australia representing all Deaf, Deafblind, and hard-of-hearing people and others who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as their language of preference. Contact us: [email icon] [email protected], [website icon], [Instagram and Twitter icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

Deaf Australia are coming to Melbourne for NDIS Review

Venue: Ross House
247/251 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000

Friday 25th August Evening Session – 5:30pm – 7:30pm
DA Constitution & Community Consultation


Saturday 26th August Morning Session – 10am – 1pm
NDIS Review (paid opportunity) 


Saturday 26th August Afternoon Session – 2pm – 5pm
NDIS Youth Review (paid opportunity)


We have limited spots available, and they’re filling up fast! 

Online AWST Constitution Consultation

Online AWST Constitution Consultation

Sunday 20th August Morning Session – 10am – 12:30pm AWST

Bookmark your calendars for this event! We will be discussing the proposed changes to DA’s constitution and gathering community feedback. Do you have other advocacy issues? Now is your chance to talk to us about your advocacy needs.

Online AEST Constitution Consultation

Online AEST Constitution Consultation

Friday 18th August Evening Session – 6pm – 8:30pm AEST

Bookmark your calendars for this event! We will be discussing the proposed changes to DA’s constitution and gathering community feedback. Do you have other advocacy issues? Now is your chance to talk to us about your advocacy needs.

Update from DA board member Kai regarding WFD 2027 Congress location


On 12th July, following the completion of the 2023 WFD Congress in South Korea, Deaf Australia would like to provide you with a follow-up update regarding the outcomes arising from the video released about the winning bid for the UAE to host the next WFD Congress in 2027.

Deaf Australia, along with 21 other countries, submitted a motion to call for an EGA (Extraordinary General Assembly) to address concerns related to the upcoming congress. The intention behind this motion is not to withdraw the hosting rights from the UAE but rather to ensure that no discrimination towards LGBTIQA+ people occur, and that freedom of speech is safeguarded during the event.

WFD has formally sent through an acknowledgement and receipt of this motion and has informed their members that the motion has been added to their next Board meeting agenda. We do not know when this board meeting is, but the Board has announced that they will provide updates to us in August about how they plan to proceed with the hosting of the EGA.

Normally, at the closing ceremony of the WFD Congress, the flag is handed over to the next hosting country. However, this did not happen, and we, Australia, are not happy about this. We think that the flag presentation should have happened, and normal processes should have happened while these issues were being resolved.

We are aware of another motion from 21 other countries who oppose the motion for an EGA. Their motion includes very valid points about not creating a divide between Deaf people and communities, and the democracy processes being upheld; and stresses the importance of respecting diverse customs, laws and values across different nations. We agree with these points, however we want to ensure that ALL Deaf people, whatever their identity is, can participate freely and as little or much as they want to.   

When we receive more information, we will update you. Thank you.

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a blue and green gradient background. Text reads “Published 31 July 2023. Update from DA Board Member Kai Regarding WFD 2027 Congress Location.”

Video: Kai is wearing a black t-shirt, has short dark hair, and is standing against a grey background. He is signing with a clear and open manner towards the camera.

Closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-leg advocacy and information organisation in Australia representing all Deaf, Deafblind, and hard-of-hearing people and others who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as their language of preference. Contact us: [email icon] [email protected], [website icon], [Instagram and Twitter icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

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