We acknowledge and respect the members of the Deaf Community in Australia, who preserve their rich heritage, culture and our language; Auslan (Australian Sign Language). We also acknowledge our custodians of Auslan, promoting awareness, equality and access through our sign language. Through Auslan, we inspire future leaders in our deaf community to continue our legacy and heritage.
The Deaf Community in Australia has sought to gain recognition and acknowledgement for their key role in the community for preserving, promoting and inspiring the culture, language and identities of deaf people.
Deaf people are present in every culture and society including Indigenous Australians who had well-developed sign systems before the European Settlement. The first recorded deaf European-born migrant in Australia is Elizabeth (Betty) Steel who arrived on the Second Fleet as a convict in 1790.
Since then, there have been many Australians, including Aboriginals and migrants, who have contributed in every fabric of the Australian society, making Australia one of the most diverse nations in the world.
Through deaf people, many businesses prospered and reaped financially and economically. Through deaf people, many services sought and lobbied by and for deaf people also benefited the rest of the Australian community and more. Through deaf people, they have raised awareness of the value of their community, their sense of belonging and identity, and their quest for life, pursuing opportunities, self-determination and appealing for a “fair-go” in the wider community and between themselves.
‘The statement acknowledges and respects the past and present members of the deaf community who have and will, in many ways, endures the legacy of the Deaf Community and marks the importance of dignity, self-worth and identity’, said Mr Todd Wright, Chairperson of Deaf Australia.
The members of the Deaf Community formally endorsed this Deaf Acknowledgement statement at the Annual General Meeting for Deaf Australia in 2018.