News/Announcements

Abbott Government ignores completely stakeholder advice on disability employment

Following misinformation in the media (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/742), A4 wrote to the newly elected Prime Minister warning about policy that vilifies people with severe and profound disability for being unemployed.

This information is essential for the Treasurer and the Finance Minister ... but the Prime Minister's office chose to not send the letter to most of the key agencies and Ministers. Apparently, they sent it only to the Department of Social Services. The Social Services Department's response (download below) shows little or no recognition of the letter's content.

Meeting request - Senator Fifield about the NDIS

A4 requested a meeting with Senator Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services (responsible for Disability Services), to discuss how to improve the NDIS for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

A4 shares some of the concerns raised in The Australian (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/756) relating to people with Intellectual Disability; at least 30% of people with autism, often severe autism, also have an intellectual disability so we can expect to have some common concerns/issues. A4 and also has concerns that specifically relate to autism.

UC Davis MIND Institute Study Finds That Children Who Have Autism Far More Likely to Have Tummy Troubles

Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) November 06, 2013

The gastrointestinal problems are linked to problem behaviors in children with autism, developmental delay.

Children with autism experience gastrointestinal (GI) upsets such as constipation, diarrhea and sensitivity to foods six-to-eight times more often than do children who are developing typically, and those symptoms are related to behavioral problems, including social withdrawal, irritability and repetitive behaviors, a new study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute has found.

to the Prime Minister: please avoid the usual Government vilification of people with disability

A4 sent the following message to the Prime Minister in response to the usual media attacks on people with disability.


Dear Prime Minister Abbott

I write hoping to head off yet another round of Government vilifying people with disability.

NDIS: reverts to original name ... slowly and cheaply


The Coalition in line with its pre-election commitment has directed that DisabilityCare resume its original name of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The return to NDIS has two purposes. The first is to leave behind a name that was seen by many people with disability as patronising and not reflecting the intent of the scheme to have the individual at the centre and in charge.

People with disability don't so much want to be cared for as supported to be as independent as they can.

Bob Buckley: State Finalist (ACT) Senior Australian of the Year 2014

Autism activist

Many people would find it impossible to devote the time and energy to advocacy activities while also caring for a child with a disability. For Bob Buckley, however, having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has driven his desire to raise awareness, attract funding and advocate for better opportunities for people living with ASD. After his son was diagnosed with the disorder, Bob began to apply his outstanding academic and analytical skills to become one of Australia’s most formidable ASD activists. In 2002, Bob co-founded Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, which he convenes to this day.

Autism CRC website and a media release


Australia's Autism CRC has posted its website — see http://www.autismcrc.com.au/

It also posted a media release ...

Researchers to unveil details of world first autism diagnostic tool

Australian researchers are combining genetic, biological and behavioural research to develop a world first screening tool that could enable early identification of autism risk.

Australian Press Council ruling on autism reference

THE following adjudication has been issued by the Australian Press Council.

The Press Council has considered a complaint about an article published on the news.com.au site on 23 November 2012, titled "Autistic man convicted of murdering WA mum". It concerned the conviction on that day of a man for the murder of his mother.

DisabilityCare (NDIS) start: with serious initial concerns relating to people with autism/ASD

DisabilityCare, the renamed and emerging NDIS, "launched" in a number of locations (states?). Now we start to see how it is being implemented. Our hope is that the scheme will be genuinely person-centred: that is, it will focus on identifying and meeting the needs of each person (individual) with a disability. Our particular concerns relate to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Access to justice in the criminal justice system for people with disability

A4's submission/feedback on the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Issues Paper on "Access to justice in the criminal justice system for people with disability" (see https://www.humanrights.gov.au/access-justice-criminal-justice-system-pe...) can be downloaded below.

A4 highlights that for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Australia does not have a "justice system", what it has is a legal system; a system of legal processes that rarely delivers justice for people with ASD.

feedback on Restrictive Practices in the Disability Service Sector

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) sent feedback on FaHCSIA's Draft Proposed National Framework for Reducing the Use of Restrictive Practices in the Disability Service Sector (see http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/disability-and-carers/pub...).

The main points in A4's feedback were:

    Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Prime Minister Gillard announced $31 million for a CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (see http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/70-million-boost-world-class-research). This is a welcome move from the Gillard Government.

    "The implementation of a highly innovative 'whole-of-life' research portfolio will deliver a continuum of support required for people with Autism to participate successfully in education, employment and all facets of the community."

    Human rights, legislation and a letter to yet another Attorney-General

    Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) sent yet another letter to Australia's latest Attorney-General. The letter raises concerns about proposed changes to disability discrimination law, and the lack of acknowledgement or response to concerns raised with previous Attorneys General.

    Attorney-General "file and ignore" on disability issues

    Previously, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) wrote to Attorneys-General about the rights of people with a disability (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/438). The letter was emailed twice (once each on 4/1/2012 and 5/1/2012) and there was no indication that it did not arrive at its destination.

    There was absolutely no response to the letter, so we put in a request using the Freedom of Information process. The response says:

    A4 submission on health and medical research in Australia

    A4 sent a submission to the the Review of Health and Medical Research in Australia (see http://www.mckeonreview.org.au/).

    The submission suggests that research funding has a greater chance of having more impact when it is addresses health issues with higher "burden of disease and injury". It mentions that autism has a high burden for children (highest for boys), based on the available evidence ... yet very little of Australia's health and medical research funding is spent on autism.

    The Disability Clothesline

    What is the Disability Clothesline?

    We started this project because people with disability and their families did not h
    ave a voice.

    When we tell our stories about abuse, neglect and violence, people do not always listen.

    But if lots of us tell our stories, people will listen.

    We want to tell our stories to the Australian community.

    We are going to do this by using teeshirts to share our stories.

    This will spread the message we want people to hear.

    'Disability violence and abuse is not okay.'

    You can help us by telling your story.

    a message from Minister Macklin MP and Ms Collins MP

    A4's Convenor received the following message from the Government on 25/9/2012 ...

    Dear Friend

    We believe that an independent and innovative Not-For-Profit sector is essential to building a fair community.

    The past few weeks in Queensland have reminded us how Liberal governments treat community organisations.

    Premier Newman has introduced gag clauses into community services contracts which prevent funded organisations from advocating for the most vulnerable in our community. The Howard Government gagged the community sector too.

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