Category: Deaf Australia News

Announcing Perth Thinking Lab 2024

We have an exciting new event to announce! Coming this winter, we are hosting…
Thinking Lab 2024 is a space bringing many deaf people together to figure out what and how we think. Our aim is to develop and improve our deep thinking skills. We are busy preparing the application and FAQs for you, keep an eye on our social media and website for the latest updates.
In the meantime, see Gab’s video for all the details. We hope you’re excited and will think about joining us!


Hello Australian Deaf Community! My name is Gab Hodge. I'm Deaf from Melbourne and now working in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh in sign language linguistics. 

Have you ever dreamed of spending one week at a beautiful location, thinking, learning and signing with other Deaf people? Yes, me too! 

I’m excited to partner with Deaf Australia in hosting a new event in Perth from 1-5 July 2024. 

Thinking Lab 2024: a space bringing many deaf people together to figure out what and how we think. Our aim is to develop and improve our deep thinking skills. Thinking Lab will not be like sitting in a row in a classroom watching boring lectures. We will watch different films. [Note for Deafblind attendees we can use different prompts on request]. We will draw on different ideas from these films, depending on all of our different interests. These ideas will be taken into group or one-on-one discussions, and we'll also do different creative activities designed to support development of our deep thinking skills. 

Thinking Lab 2024 will be facilitated by myself and four other wonderful Deaf people:

  1. Annelies Kusters (Belgium) who is extremely knowledgeable about Deaf people, language, culture and film-making. 
  2. Jody Barney (Australia) who has extensive experience relating to First Nations knowledge, culture, language and advocacy. 
  3. Stef Linder (Australia) who is skilled with interpreting, translating and community development. 
  4. Marta Morgado (Portugal) who is knowledgeable about linguistics, Deaf culture and visual notetaking. This is different to English notetaking, as it relies on transforming ideas into visual or tactile notes. 

We are very excited to host this event together. Jody, Stef and myself all use Auslan. Annelies and Marta use BSL or International Sign. 

There are 25 spots available for Thinking Lab. These limited places ensure we can provide a good quality learning experience for everyone who attends.

The registration fee is $2,000 per person and includes all food, accommodation and learning for the week. We also have five free places available for people who do not have access to funding. 

Would you like to join? You must be:

  1. Deaf, Deafblind, Deaf disabled or hard of hearing and age 18 or older
  2. Comfortable using visual or tactile sign for the week
  3. Open minded, curious and interested in other people and ideas

We hope you will apply! Stef explains the application process in another video. We also have a series of FAQ videos that you might like to check for answers to any questions.  

Hope to see you there! Thank you.

Visual description

Gab is standing in front of a plain white background. She is wearing a dark red turtleneck and signing in a friendly and informative manner.

Part Time Job Opportunity


Hello! I am Shirley Liu, Acting CEO at Deaf Australia.

We are excited to share a work opportunity with you – this will be only fixed term – 3 months (late March until late June).

Due to internal staff changes, we can offer this temporary position.

We are looking for a deaf person who is available as soon as possible, can meet our criteria, and fit into our organisation, Deaf Australia’s vision and purpose.

The title of the job is Project Assistant. Part-time means 3 days – 21 hours.

What responsibilities are involved in this role?

  • Have translation skills (Auslan to English, vice versa)
  • Manage some general email and administrative tasks, coordination, and logistics
  • Collaborate and support the team to ensure the timely production and logistics of Deaf Australia projects
  • Create a review & final outcome report after resources and projects are released
  • Consult with our deaf community members
  • Research and identify trending topics related to advocacy and community issues
  • And other general tasks

If you are interested, please send your Expression of Interest (EOI) and motivation statement to me at [email protected]. The EOI will be closed by 15 March 2024. Any questions, please contact me; I am happy to provide any further information.

Visual description

Shirley is standing against a beige background and is wearing a black t-shirt.

Interested? Send your EOI and Motivation Statement to
Shirley at [email protected]

Announcement Regarding Deaf Australia Membership Structure Changes


Hi My name is Debra Swann - Chair of Deaf Australia. This message is about the new membership structure following from the new constitution which was approved at our AGM last 18 November 2023.

The Board of Deaf Australia now have a new membership structure as following:

 1.⁠ ⁠General membership - $50 per year

 2.⁠ ⁠Low incomes and students - $25.00 per year

 3.⁠ ⁠Under 18. - $5.00 per year

From 18 November onwards - any new members who join will now follow this structure.

However for our current members - the new structure will start on 1st July 2025. Deaf Australia will email you before July 1, 2025, to inform you of the annual membership fee change. That applies to our existing members on the old membership structure, while new members will follow the new one.

In a few days, it will be Christmas. The board of Deaf Australia wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please stay safe and enjoy the holiday festival. We look forward to business with you in 2024 and beyond.

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a purple and blue gradient background. Below this is a circle shape with a screenshot of Debra Swann from the video. Title reads "Announcement Regarding Deaf Australia Membership Structure Changes.  Published: 20th December 2023."

Video: Debra Swann is signing in front of a festive Christmas tree background. She is wearing a black shirt, a red cardigan, and clear-frame glasses. She is signing in a friendly and professional manner.

Closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-led 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] deafaustralia.org.au, [Instagram and X icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

Deaf Australia and affiliated organisations express profound disappointment in Disability Royal Commission recommendations


The final reports of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disabilities, handed down on September 29 2023, have left the Deaf community disappointed. Despite extensive submissions by Deaf Australia and numerous other deaf organisations and individuals detailing the lived experiences of the Deaf community, not one of the 222 recommendations explicitly addresses the unique challenges faced by Deaf, Deafblind, hard of hearing and Deaf+Disabled people.

While recognising our identity as a disability group, we primarily identify as a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community, embracing the proud language of Auslan, culture, values, arts, and shared heritage. The barriers we encounter in every aspect of our lives do not stem from our deafness but are imposed by societal expectations, even from within other disability cohorts, dictating how we should be, communicate, act, and live.

Our disappointment in the recommendations of the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) is an understatement; we are profoundly disillusioned with the disparity between the promised potential of the DRC and its actual delivery. The broad and sweeping recommendations run counter to our advocacy, particularly during public hearings including Public Hearing 29, where the experiences of violence against Deaf and Deafblind people were discussed. We question the absence of focus on critical issues such as early intervention, language deprivation, Auslan as a human right, and the utmost necessity of a bilingual and bicultural model for deaf babies and children.

Of particular concern is the recommendation for the closure of special schools, a direct contradiction to the Deaf community's consistent call for more bilingual and bicultural schools. Institutions like Toowong State School in Queensland, where both deaf and hearing children learn in two languages—Auslan and English—are emblematic of the inclusive educational environments we champion. The closure of Deaf schools across Australia, despite our community’s pleas, has resulted in deaf children struggling in mainstream settings without adequate support and the presence of other deaf peers. What hearing people see as inclusion of deaf children is integration: a physical placement with an Auslan interpreter IF they are lucky with no other deaf peers, deaf mentors and deaf teachers of the deaf fluent in Auslan. This has failed spectacularly for deaf children. The International Disability Alliance’s Inclusive Education Report (2020) has explicitly stated: -

“...sign language access for learners who are deaf... [is] essential for meeting the right to education; this access cannot always be provided in local settings...”

While acknowledging the DRC's recommendation on Auslan interpreting, it is crucial to recognise that it only addresses service provision and fails to dismantle social barriers hindering our community's full engagement with society. Utilising Auslan interpreters does not mean that there is a true and inclusive society at play where any Deaf person can interact with any person they meet, but instead asks that the Deaf person waits until a qualified non-Deaf person is available to act as an intermediary. This recommendation is more about providing jobs to hearing people than about empowering our community members to become full citizens in their own communities.

Further, this recommendation holds little meaning without the right and ability to use Auslan. Ignoring crucial statistics, such as the high percentage of deaf babies born into non-signing families (97%) and the resulting language deprivation (50-70%), demonstrates a careless disregard for the unique challenges faced by the Deaf community.

The stories that emerged from the DRC are not new to us, as the national peak advocacy body for all Deaf, Deafblind, hard of hearing, and Deaf+Disabled people who use Auslan, and as Deaf individuals ourselves. We acknowledge the bravery of those who shared their traumatic experiences during the proceedings. However, it is disappointing that none of the recommendations recognise these stories, from language deprivation and educational inadequacies to systemic denial of access and shocking experiences across all stages of life and did not translate these into genuine recommendations that would lead to real change.

We urgently call upon the Australian Government and state and territory governments to rethink a one-size-fits-all approach to disability, and to consider the vital need for bilingual and bicultural approaches in early intervention and educational settings for all children born or becoming deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, and deaf+disabled. We expect their responses to reflect this consideration by March 31.

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and brown gradient background. Below this is a circle shape with Royal Commission logo on purple background. Title reads "Deaf Australia and affiliated organisations express profound disappointment in Disability Royal Commission recommendations. Published: 18th December 2023."

Video: Shirley is sitting in a black desk chair against a white wall. She is wearing a black t-shirt and signing in a professional and plain 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-led 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] deafaustralia.org.au, [Instagram and X icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

Download the Media Release

To download the Media Release in Word document and PDF formats, please fill out the form below:

Seeking deaf community input about Justice System


We are currently seeking to learn from the deaf community their various experiences with the justice system, including police, court and jail. We are gathering evidence to support deaf specific advocacy for people facing these scenarios. All of your information will be kept strictly confidential. If you are willing, please get in touch with us at [email protected] with the subject line "Justice System Experiences" and we will set up a time to discuss further. Thank you.


Hello, I’m Catherine and I work at Deaf Australia as a policy writer. We know from the community’s feedback and the DRC reports that deaf people have experiences with the police, courts and jail. We know that deaf people have different and varying experiences with all three; we want to ask the deaf community YOUR experiences with any and all three. Were they good or bad? Did you have interpreters alongside with you? How did you communicate with them? What was positive and what was negative about your experiences with any or all three? We don’t want to know the whys of your experiences with them as it’s none of our business. And of course, whatever you say to us will be kept strictly private. We want you to please contact us and let us know your experiences because we want to focus on how to improve how to have better experiences with all three (police, courts and jail). Hope you can get in touch with us. Bye.

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Title reads "Seeking Deaf community input: Your experiences with the Justice System. Published: 8th December 2023." Bottom has photographs of a gavel, prison cells, and Australian police force in circle shapes.

Video: White woman with shoulder length dark hair wearing a blue jumper sitting with a creamy background, signing in Auslan about a request to get in touch with Deaf Australia relating to experiences with the police, courts and jail.

Closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-led 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] https://buff.ly/40UXM8b, [Instagram and X icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

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] https://buff.ly/40UXM8b, [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

CEO Update (Part 2: WFD 2027 Congress in UAE) – 23 Oct 2023


Thirdly, earlier this year, we attended the WFD Congress in South Korea. During the congress, there was a General Assembly where we receive updates and vote on things, including the location of the next Congress.

The process is that countries put in their bids, two WFD board
and one WFDYS board member travel to these countries and inspect the sites and interview the nominees, before approving.

This year they also made the decision to provide a recommendation.

This year, three countries bidded – Nigeria in Africa, Norway in Europe and United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Middle East.
In the congress, WFD Board recommended UAE. The UAE won the bid.

However, there were questions about human rights, particularly regarding the 2SLGBTIQA+SB community, commonly referred to as 'Queer.'
21 countries (19 signatories), including Australia, wrote a motion for a request for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to ask questions about the bidding process and to ask all three bidders to answer questions on human rights.

WFD accepted and an EGM was held on Saturday, from 9pm – 2.30am Melbourne time, which was a long night. Our intention was never to have a re-vote, but to clarify things, however we did write the word ‘vote’ in the motion – but it is important to remember that English is a second, third, fourth language for the majority of people in the world.

During this process, the agenda was around topics such as accepting the voting procedures and more.
1. Should the WFD Board be responsible for deciding whether bids meet human rights and then deciding whether they can be approved for voting by the members?
2. Which country would win the next Congress location?

So, that's the summary up to this point.
I had two Board members come to my home to watch together. Two of us voted while one observed. Sherrie Beaver, the vice-chairperson, and Karthik Vijayanandam as an observer joined me for the EGM. The three of us were together all night, and we asked questions.

I would like to bring up a personal comment: there have been a lot of comments and fear about women in UAE, stuff like can women go to UAE? Do they have to attend with a man? Is it safe to go? Can women present? I believe this is Islamophobia. I think this is directly related to a fear or inappropriate beliefs about religion, Muslim, and Islam. This needs to stop. Don't aim to burden women; however, there are a few extremists. Please conduct some research before making public claims and statements about this. That's what I wanted to share with you all.

Let's return to the Extraordinary General Meeting procedure from last Saturday. Three hours prior to the EGM, WFD released an open letter which I will attach. responding to some allegations from Norway in their magazines about the process of the bids and votes in Korea. WFD had tried to respond to them and get them to print a retraction, but apparently were not listened to, which is why they released the open letter.
On the night, Nigeria withdrew their bid, saying that there was
a fair democratic process where the UAE won in Korea. Norway removed their bid because of this open letter from the WFD. This meant UAE was the only country in the running.

Please remember that the Board agreed that we don't want to hold a re-vote. We wanted to ask questions for clarification before accepting that the UAE has won the bid.

So, we voted on two main issues during this process: the WFD and the country's bid. We all agreed that we don't want WFD to accept bids from countries with poor human rights records. We, as members, want to be the ones making this decision, not the WFD. That covers the first part. As for the second part, the country's bid.

We are not allowed and won’t ask for another EGM to happen again. We accept that a democratic process has happened. That is what happened. Does this mean I will ignore any of your objections? No, I welcome your feedback and also continue to relay this to WFD to ensure that the next Congress is successful. Thank you.

CEO Update (Part 1) – 23 Oct 2023


Hello. This is Jen Blyth, CEO of Deaf Australia. I am making this video on Wurundjeri country of the Kulin Nation - Melbourne.

I have a CEO update. I'll try to keep it brief, but it's rather lengthy. Just a heads up in advance.

1. Services Australia (Centrelink) - Part 1
2. NDIS guidelines - Part 1
3. WFD 2027 Congress in UAE - Part 2

Services Australia
A Deaf community member reached out to us to ask us
to help advocate for the removal of the requirement to have interpreters be a nominee for Deaf people when making calls to Centrelink. We agreed this was an important advocacy issue, and we have successfully advocated for this removal. Service Australia have changed their policies and procedures which will be updated on their website soon. They will remove this requirement for nominees, instead changing the process to ask identifying questions from the interpreter, such as what their NAATI number is. This is a great win.

NDIS would we fund it guidelines
The NDIS has developed some guidelines to cover Deaf-specific requirements, such as Auslan at home for families and interpreting being covered. On their website, they will soon post about topics such as Auslan in the home for families, Auslan for adults, and interpreting services. Unfortunately, they don't share the hours or the costs, but the funds will be covered. This is a positive step that benefits everyone.

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