Category: Updates

CE’s Update – 20 December 2021


Hello Im Jen Blyth, CE of Deaf Australia. I thought I would do one last update for 2021, maybe you think I look slightly relieved and yes I am, its been such a busy time since August, lots of things have been happening since I started.

The team has expanded, we started with four or five staff and there are now 11 staff members in the team. Its a really amazing team of people, I feel just honoured really every day seeing the amazing skills and knowledge and contribution to the organisation and the Deaf community the staff are making, and I feel extremely proud to be part of this amazing team of people I get to work with every day.

We have achieved many different things throughout the year: 

  • Weve set up the TTT thanks to some staff who have previously worked with us and some that are still working with us, this ensures we are updating the community regularly with information. 
  • We have also held many, many webinars which have been really popular and quite a success, people seem to love them. They are also up on the website so if you think you have missed one or perhaps want to watch it again-youve got your own free Netflix right there on the Deaf Australia website for you to watch. 
  • We have met with countless different organisations and meetings, not just me but the team as well 
  • We have also been really busy preparing and looking ahead to 2022, what can be achieved and also seeking more funding to ensure we succeed into the future and carry on the legacy of Deaf Australia in the years gone by and all the different CEs, managers, board members that have been involved in the past and we want to continue that into the future.

I do have some exciting news to share. We recently pitched to SBS after they did a call out for people who are interested in creating podcasts (you know that hearing thing where people talk and tell stories). We suggested an Auslan podcast and they agreed so we will have an SBS Vodcast (video Podcasts) for deaf people to talk about Deaf related content, it will be available to watch on SBS and we will share on our platform also. Hearing people can also watch and find out more about what its like to be part of the Deaf community. Im extremely excited about that particular project.

I want to say thank you to all those people who contacted me about their NDIS plans for their deaf children. I received lots of submissions and I do encourage you to please contact me and submit your story if you havent already. Its a really important topic and the NDIA are aware that I am collating thisinformation, but I want to collect as much information as possible. Please do send me your stories, if you would like to contact me and let me know about your family situation, I do need certain things: your childs participant number, where youre located, a brief summary about your story and details regarding if youve been to a review, if you have made a complaint or if you have been to AAT, what processes youve been through with the NDIS. That will really help with me with my advocacy with the NDIA.

In the previous update I spoke about our focus on education sector for the Deaf community. I only received one or two submissions. I would love to get more submissions to help us build understanding for our advocacy work in this area.

I also want to let you know that in February we will have an SGM, at the recent AGM this was announced and this will be held in February, date to be announced in January. The board will be there in person and at that time will talk about a few different things: we will talk about our membership system, what the structure of the membership should be, the awards, and the Colin Allen AM Lecture with this TTT there is a survey so please see fill this in.

In the last CE update we introduced our new DRC advocacy officer, this TTT includes introductions from three new staff members so we have grown but thats it for now.

I also wanted to add we recently had a Q&A with the CE and there was some brilliant questions - that was quite successful so we have decided we will hold another one on 13th January. We will promote it a bit more closer to the date but perhaps with this Q&A with the CE therell be less questions because of holidays or maybe therell be loads because youre bored over the holidays and thinking all about what Deaf Australia could achieve and discussing this with your family and friends over the Christmas period, Im sure youll be doing that, right?

Thank you for your support over this year, the team really feel quite supported from the Deaf community and I feel very supported. I also have had some criticism but I really do welcome that because I really appreciate that it helps us to improve and make things better. Any feedback or advice or information that you give us we take on board, and we really believe in transparency and accountability to the community. We believe in making sure we are achieving what you want and need from Deaf Australia as your peak advocacy body.

We look forward to 2022 I think it will be an amazing year with all the things we have planned for you and I hope you will join us on our journey.  Thank you, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all. Please stay safe. 

ABC radio interview – shortage of Auslan interpreters

Jen Blyth (CEO of Deaf Australia) and Joanna Aguis (First Nations Deaf person and the founder of Deaf Aboriginal Services) was interviewed about the shortage of Auslan interpreters. 

There are 30,000 signing Deaf people in Australia who may need an Auslan interpreter at any one time. And yet there are only 300 qualified and accredited practicing interpreters Australia wide, and not all of them work full-time. This growing lack of Auslan interpreters is a huge issue for the Deaf community, leaving many without access to an interpreter to communicate with the hearing world. 

CE’s Update – 2 December 2021


Hello, I’m Jen Blyth, CEO of Deaf Australia. I have a really brief update for you all this week. Exciting news; I’ve recruited 4 new staff to join us. You’ve already seen one video from Edan; he now works as a DRC advocacy officer. When we receive videos of introduction from the other three, we will release them for our next TTT newsletter.

One of my current advocacy focuses is on deaf children and NDIA plans; many want Auslan for their children yet this has been rejected. They focus on speech and occupational therapy only, disallowing access to Auslan. If there are requested plans to access both speech and Auslan it’s still refused; there is an insistence on speech only. I and Deaf Australia disagree with that. We have told NDIA that this is an issue. 

We want to hear from you all, from families and friends with deaf children; if their NDIA packages don’t include access to Auslan we want to know about it. We want to provide the NDIA with significant numbers to advocate for the right to include Auslan.

I also want to let you know that the WFD will have their conference in Thailand next year from 20th to 22nd April and applications soon close. They’re keen to have people apply, yet at the moment there are not many applications received. They need people to apply for the opportunity to attend the congress. We’ll keep you updated if the situation changes especially with this new strain of COVID19. 

I’ve observed that education for deaf children is one area of concern and would like to know what your experiences were or are. It doesn’t matter if you finished your education a long time ago, or if you’re currently attending school or if you will attend; I’m keen to know what it was or is like for you.

As always you are welcome to contact me any time, if you have feedback, you can contact me and the team. Thank you and enjoy the summer ahead!

Our new representative for DRC


Hello. I am Edan, Deaf Australia's representative for the Disability Royal Commission. 
I will be collecting all the information we can get and writing it up to submit to the DRC in English and Auslan about a wide range of topics including interpreting issues, education for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing children and access to Auslan. If you would rather contact the DRC directly (which I also encourage you to do), there is a new confidential SMS number, which is 0459 906 629 and there is a link to the video explaining further. 
I look forward to helping the government understand how to create a brighter, more accessible future for Australian Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deafblind people.

Edan's email address is [email protected] 

Auslan shop – Christmas shopping

It’s soon Christmas! It’s fast approaching and if you’ve not yet bought presents for your friends and family, if you don’t know what to buy them, not to worry, you can have a look at our Auslan Shop website. A perfect present for example would be the book Future Girl by Asphyxia. Perhaps you’d like to get it for your friends or family members who absolutely love reading or for the children too. We also have board games that you could play with your family, they’re a lot of fun. There are lots of things at the Shop. Another example could be that family members want to improve their Auslan skills, so you could give them the perfect gift of ‘The Survival Guide to Auslan’ to help them with that. 

If you want to have your order delivered in time to wrap up and put under the Christmas tree for those who live in WA or QLD make sure you order before the 1st December. For those who live in Greater Sydney, the western areas you have more time; you can order before 8th December. If you live in the city, Parramatta – Hill District, you can order before 11 December. So come have a look and get ordering! 

Winners of Dot Shaw Young Writers Competition 2021

We received 25 submissions and they all were great. The judges have made their decision and announced the winners of first and second place at our AGM last Sunday 31st October. We are proud to announce the 2021 winners here and send them vouchers, and books to their schools. See the poster for names and the link of their stories.  

We are pleased that we revived the Dot Shaw Young Writers Competition to carry on Dot Shaw’s legacy of supporting and promoting literacy skills for young deaf people. 

Ivan Callaghan shared a beautiful story during the AGM before the announcement of the winners.

CE’s Update – 12 November 2021


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

We had our AGM recently and we also have our annual report which is now available for you to access on our website. 

We also have a new makeup of the board;

  • Debra Swann 
  • Adrian Doyle 
  • Irene Holub 
  • Debbie Kennewell and
  • Ivan Callaghan. 

I congratulate them all for joining us.

We also announced the winners of the Dot Show Young Writers Competition. You’ll see who they are in the TTT newsletter. I congratulate all those who submitted stories to us and also to those who won first and second places.

I want to let you know that we’ll soon have a CEO Q & A session, to be held online on zoom and Facebook. People can ask us all sorts of questions they may have. The aim of this session is to ask any and all sorts of questions you may have. We might have some questions of our own to ask. You might have questions about Deaf Australia, about the CEO, the staff or questions about something you want Deaf Australia to provide; you can ask at the session. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss with you all.

Thank you. Have a good week.

New Auslan Shop Website

We’re excited to finally open the Auslan Shop with new website. You can have a look at our new website and order new products available now.

You can start ordering Christmas presents for family, friends or your children, anyone! If you have questions or need to discuss anything, please contact Salomon at [email protected] 

CE’s Update – 14 October 2021


Hello, I’m Jen Blyth, the CE of Deaf Australia. I’d like to provide you with a summary of updates.. As you all know the deadline for the Dot Shaw young writers competition is coming up soon. We have finished receive submissions which we appreciate. I’ve read through them and I love them. We love the stories from all young deaf people from all over Australia. I adore them; I can’t wait to receive more. I’m not involved in the panel but if I were involved I would want to make all of you winners.

The second thing I want to remind you about is the AGM on 31st October starting at 7 pm. Please come.

The third thing I want to remind you about is that the deadline for nominations for the Colin Allen AM lecture has been extended. The lecture is on November 26th, a Friday night. We encourage you to submit nominations. If there is a person you’re keen to have present, about a topic you’re wanting you can nominate them.

The fourth thing is you probably have seen a lot of things happening in New South Wales over the news about the new premier not providing interpreters at his press conferences. You may also have seen the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights’ open letter questioning the decision of the New South Wales government to stop providing interpreters. A lot of things have happened as a consequence.

So those in the media and journalists have contacted us asking for Deaf Australia’s opinion and position. We said that it is important to provide interpreters at all press conferences. COVID is important, yes, but other things are too. There should be interpreters at all press conferences as well as the provision of captions

We also advocated to the Prime Minister that he should have an interpreter at every press conference. Every time we have an interview I emphasise that premiers and the Prime Minister both should have interpreters.
I also want to let you all know that I had a meeting with the Australian Lawyers for the Human Rights yesterday and it was a productive meeting. I will have a meeting with government MP next week to discuss the issues further and then later again launch a press release to say come on, you need to make sure that you have an interpreter beside you. The MP in Parliament today during question time asked what’s being done about the interpreting situation and their response was to put the question on notice which means they’ll come back to it later.

Our team is really enthusiastic and work hard but I’m sure you have seen that we have advertised EOIs for five positions. We really want our team to grow. It’s only until the of June next year because we rely on funding from the NDIA which finishes then. We don’t have ongoing funding. Which means we only have positions while being funded. The five positions are: Diversity and Inclusion Officer to meet with lots of different people around Australia to tell us what we should be focusing on, what we should advocate for and how we can improve our diversity and inclusion practices. The second position - Darlene will move to a new role within Deaf Australia so it means her job as a Disability Royal Commission Advocacy Officer position has been left empty. Darlene has been working as a DRC advocate and we want someone to come and fill her very big shoes.

The third position is project management, looking after projects. We have two big projects at the moment and we need someone to look after them. The fourth and fifth positions are project support offices and are part and full time. I’m also open to accepting a hearing and codas but of course they must be fluent in Auslan. Only one position is excepted - that of the project manager. If they are hearing and not fluent in Auslan that’s fine but we need to make

sure that we have a deaf person working alongside to pass on skills. I think that’s all from me now. We have had quite a few big meetings recently. I’m sure that at the next update I will tell you a lot more in detail, especially of that related to the New South Wales Premier. I hope that you will also be involved in sending off letters to demand interpreters as well. Thank you. Thank you and as usual if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. I’m more than happy to respond and talk with you, thank you.

Auslan Shop Updates – 12 October 2021


Hello! Just wanted to let you know Auslan Shop will be closed temporarily for almost two weeks. What this means is that you can order up until the 12th of October. From the 13th it will be closed until the 24th of October. Then, on the 25th of October we open again and you can start ordering again. And you know what? We will have new products in stock! Exciting times! If you have any questions or want more information, you are more than welcome to contact me. See you soon!

Skip to content