Category: Updates

Deaf Australia Awards 2022

Deaf Australian of the Year

Elise Stewart

Founder of Deaf Hub Bendigo – reducing barriers and isolation amongst the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members accessing support and information in the regional area. Including:

  • Social events
  • Workshops
  • Visiting clients
  • Creation of a space for Deaf people
  • Providing employment to Deaf people

She works both in volunteer and paid capacity. She has a passion to raise awareness of Deaf youth, elder people and parents of deaf kids.

Also supported all of the submissions to DRC in the region (400 hours worth of videos)

Deaf Youth of the Year

Sam Martin

Sam invested his passion about Deaf arts.

  • Always looks for strategies to share his achievements with the Deaf community
  • throughout Australia and in New York, which showed how Deaf people could be involved in the creation of a movie from start to end
  • Established PAH Stories, a theatre performance which allows Deaf queer people to share their stories

Community Volunteer of the Year

Margaret van Leeuwen
  • Volunteered for 45 years for the Ballarat Deaf Social Club Inc with different roles in the committee
  • She became life member in 1999 for BDSC
  • Margaret is a quiet, hardworking & devoted community minded person
  • Margaret likes being involved with Deaf Community, and feels a real sense of belonging,
  • Always ready to help with many social activities, Starlight Balls and special events
  • Always the first person to set up the hall for club’s activities , guest speakers and AGM meetings and the last person to leave the venue!
  • She also works full time and loves bushwalking .
  • E R Noble award recipient 2001/2002.

36th Annual General Meeting

Deaf Australia Inc will hold its thirty-sixth (36th) Annual General Meeting on Monday 19th September at 7.00 PM (AEST) online via zoom.

Important notice: The meeting must provide members with a reasonable opportunity to participate, as such, put questions to board members and vote online. To register in advance for the Annual General Meeting: Register email [email protected] After registering your interest, we will check your details against our membership database, and you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the AGM. Important note: Make sure your full name and email address correspond with our database. The AGM will be livestreamed on Facebook for non-members.

Auslan Shop: I sign therefore I am


Hello!  Exciting news about a new book, now available to buy thought the Auslan Shop website. 

This book is written by Juhana Salonen, a Deaf Finnish. Their sign name is 'J' turn right movement.

He wrote this book called 'I sign, Therefore I Am'. Here is a snapshot of the blurb:

is the powerful story of a deaf young man struggling with this identity, and of his growth into a sign language user who is proud of his culture.

Being the deaf child of hearing parents and the only deaf person in my early surroundings: these were the fondations for the identity crisis

I underwent in my youth. The crisis could have had a tragic end, but fortunately in my case it did not. It took years of searching, however,

to finally grow into my identity as a deaf person and to adopt Finnish Sign Language as my mother tongues.  I wrote this book to share my life

experiences with members of any linguistic or cultural minority. This highly topical issue in society, as such minorities are increasingly in the limelight. 

Many automatically assume that minorities have it bad, and that their member deviate - in a negative sense - from the majority population also in other ways.

This book offers excellent opportunities for seeing the world though a deaf person's eyes and for correcting misguided views. At the same time, it provides compelling evidence of the benefits of deafness and sign language for both the deaf and the population at large.

You can order this book now through our Auslan Shop website! Read this story about Juhana, a special Deaf from Finland. Thank you. Bye for now.

NSW Inquiry: Auslan interpretation for broadcasting


This is an important announcement for the NSW Deaf community.

Within the NSW Government there are two chambers, being the Lower House and the Upper House.

The Upper House is called the Legislative Council within Parliament.

There is a proposal which we are submitting for inquiry called ‘Auslan interpretation for broadcasting’.

This proposal calls for, discussion within the Legislative Council, proposals, meetings, announcements, any form discourse, that there must be an Auslan interpreter present.

This proposal is not calling for an interpreter in all other areas of the Government, only discourse within the Legislative Council.

This call for interpreters to be present is to make sure the NSW Deaf community who want to be informed with what is happening within the Government, have access.

Within the proposal there are ‘terms of reference’, which are, the terms or needs specified in the proposal, what they actually look like, the process of implementing and sustaining the terms. This makes sure that the defined terms and criteria are met and not deviated. These are referred to in short as TOR.

The TOR are very clear and concise, they state, the UN Convention on the Human Rights of People with Disabilities must be followed, which includes providing access for all people, Deaf people included.

The inquiry must investigate if an Auslan interpreter can be present in Parliament, and if not then what other options can be made accessible, for example captioning or other methods, to make sure it is accessible for all people. Also, to be investigated is any other factors linked to accessibility within the Legislative Council to ensure full accessibility for the Deaf community.

Deaf Australia is asking the NSW Deaf community to review these submissions, provide comment if you agree or disagree, your ideas, recommendations, changes, anything that can support this notion.

If you would like to support but don’t know how, please contact Deaf Australia and we can support you with advice through the process.

This inquiry will close on the 5th August, which is fast approaching and your submissions will need to come through prior to the 5th August.

Thank you.

Factsheet: Making a submission

(Auslan version)

Terms of Reference (TOR)

(Auslan version)

Template for writing a submission

Send your submission

More information about the inquiry

CE update – 26 July 2022


Hello, I’m Jen Blyth, the Chief Executive Officer of Deaf Australia. I am here on Wurundjeri land of the Kulin Nation, in Naarm (Melbourne) Victoria. I have a few CEO updates for the community.

Firstly, we have a new Executive Assistant – Lauren Stuart. We are excited to have her join the team and support efficiency by improving response time to email enquiries and assist with other tasks in the workplace.

Secondly, Darlene recently attended the AFAC conference. AFAC is the emergency services council, which includes the SES, CFA and other emergency services departments. Previously Shirley and Tayla have worked with these services; and from that work, the CEO of AFAC contacted us to discuss how to better engage with Deaf people around accessibility in emergencies. Not just during emergency situations; but in the preparation of emergencies, during emergencies and in the recovery phases; and what Deaf people can do in these situations. We want the momentum of this relationship to continue. It shows the amazing work of the team in making this happen and the importance of Deaf inclusion in emergency situations.

Recently, I went to Cairns to meet with a far north Queensland indigenous group: Deaf Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. I felt truly honoured to be invited to meet with this group and listen to their experiences. If you would like us to visit your state and local community – anywhere in Australia – please reach out, as we are happy to travel to you and listen to your stories at any time. So please do contact us.

SBS vodcast episode 5 has been released this week and episode 6 will likely be released in the coming week or two so please have a look as this episode is about ‘Intersectionality’.

The Colin Allen lecture nominations have now closed, and we will announce this year’s lecturer soon. The lecture will be given on the 23rd September which is the International Day of Sign Languages. The lecture will be given online and more information about who is presenting will be released soon. During that same week, which is the National Week of Deaf People, there will be events including the AGM on the 19th September. Also, the Dorothy Shaw youth writing competition, which we will release more information about soon; but there will be prizes for different forms of writing such as stories, artwork, cartoon, graphic novels, etc. This was one of my favourite events last year so I’m looking forward to it again this year.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate Deaf ACT for their lobbying and petition of over 500 signatories provided to the ACT Parliament to propose more research and inclusion of Auslan in key areas. Deaf Australia also added a submission along with other stakeholders. So well done to Deaf ACT for this amazing advocacy.

That’s all from me. Have a lovely week. Thanks, bye.

ACT Inquiry: Access to services and information in Auslan

Visual Description

Shirley is standing in front of a cream coloured wall, she wears a dark blue jumper and her dark brown hair is tied back.


Hello everyone!
Deaf Australia is seeking Deaf people who live in ACT.
DeafACT is a small organisation who actively focuses on advocacy, sports and other support services in ACT.
We have been in consultation with together regarding a very important Inquiry that has been established by the ACT Government.
This Inquiry will focus on the accessibility of services and information in Auslan, and further information is available into the specifics of what the Inquiry will involve.
Deaf Australia and DeafACT would like to encourage the community and you as individuals to please make a submission towards the Inquiry advising them of the issues you have experienced.
From your submissions the Inquiry will examine what changes need to be made. Change may be required to a law, improving a system or processes to better the future.
We strongly encourage you all to submit to the Inquiry before the cut off date which is this Friday 15th July.
Deaf Australia is working together with Deaf ACT and in support they have asked us to create a template which is available to download online.  This template will help with creating a submission using written English or if you would like to submit an Auslan version, the template will support with the structure of the submission.
If you have any questions or queries, please contact the team at DeafACT who will be able to support you. 
Please spread the word to your friends, family, work colleagues, this is a valuable Inquiry for the Deaf community in ACT.
Thank you for supporting this important cause.

Download the template submission

More information about the inqury

Recent Facebook Q&A with DeafACT

CE update – 27 May 2022


Hello, I’m Jen Blyth, CEO of Deaf Australia. I have a brief update for you all.

So far I have been attending many meetings. Most of them are related to NDIS and AAT case conferences to support families’ advocacy to reinstate Auslan tuition on their children’s plans after being cut.

Secondly, we want to inform you that we will have the Colin Allen Lecture coming up soon. Please see Debra’s video for more information.

Thirdly, yesterday was Sorry Day. It is important that we acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait people in Australia. Related to that, on 3rd to 10th July will be NAIDOC week and Auslan shop will offer 5% to everything we sell in that week to Deaf Aboriginal organisation/Services. More information will be shared soon.

Lastly, we have SBS video podcast with 4 episodes being available for view. They all have different topics with the first one about Auslan as a language, Deaf stories around technologies, Deaf Gain and Deafblind. The upcoming episode will be about diversity and we will see what the last episode’s topic will be –  it will be a surprise. I strongly encourage you all to watch those episodes to enjoy the content and to laugh along.


I wonder if we should organise a movie night where everyone can watch together and have a discussion afterwards relating to the topic? Let me know!

That’s all from me. Have a lovely week. Thanks, bye.

Auslan Shop – members discount


Hello to all of our members. I have exciting news to share about our upcoming special of the month for our members. During the month of June, we will be offering a special discount for this book “Managing Their Own Affairs”  written by Breda Carty.  This is exclusively only for our members to get this discounted price at $65, not including shipping fees.

If you are interested to buy this, please contact me via email [email protected] along with your name and address. 

I will make a record of all members who bought this book so when the Auslan version is ready, it will be sent out. 

This is exciting and it will be available for order from 1st June till the end of the month. The book will be available for the public on our website afterwards without the special discount.

We want to let you all know that the book has limited copies so don’t miss out this limited edition. It won’t be printed again after the 174 books have been sold. So make sure you don’t miss out ordering from the 1st June. 

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity for all of our members.

2022 Federal Election Scorecards

The federal election is happening this Saturday! Below is a summary of how the major parties' policies stack up.

We (Deaf Australia Inc & Deaf Connect) make this information available for the benefit of our community and not as an endorsement of any party or candidate.

English information by topic:
English information by party:

Visual description

Deaf related election promises
  • $2 million to train hearing assistance dogs
  • Continue funding the NDIS
  • Increase community partnerships to deliver NDIS
  • Quicker and easier access to assistive technology
  • Continue to support Roadmap for Hearing Health
Other disability policy that impacts Deaf people
  • 7% target for disability employment in Australian Public Service by 2025
Deaf related election promises
  • Three new Shepherd Centre centres ($6.5 million) plus $1.5 million online training in speech and emotional resilience
  • Stop cuts to NDIS plans
  • Review how NDIS operates
  • Increase number of people with disabilities on NDIS Board and Executive
  • An additional 380 staff for NDIA
  • A promise of an extra 83,000 more workers for NDIS
Other disability policy that impacts Deaf people
  • Double support for funding for disability advocacy organisations (including Deaf Australia)
Deaf related election promises
  • $30 million to increase availability of Auslan interpreters
  • Remove age 65 limit to access NDIS
  • Lift staffing cap for NDIS
  • Disability awareness training for NDIS staff
  • Higher investment in NDIS advocacy
Other disability policy that impacts Deaf people
  • 20% target for disability employment in Australian Public Service
  • Expand regulatory requirement for captioning
  • Commitment to close special schools (including Deaf schools) by 2030 as part of making schools inclusive
  • $30 million increase in funding for disability advocacy organisations (including Deaf Australia)
  • Implement all recommendations of the Disability Royal Commission
  • Ensure that disabled people in the criminal legal system are able to access disability supports and reasonable adjustments and modifications, including the NDIS
  • Invest an initial $10 million over four years working with disable people, DROs and education institutes to develop model curricula for health professionals
  • Establish an Office of Disability Strategy within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to oversee the coordination and monitoring of the NDIS
  • Invest $15 million over the forward estimates to ensure emergency responders and disaster relief services receive disability awareness training
Files for printing:
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