JOKES about people with disabilities are no laughing matter for Marrickville resident James Eggleton.
Australia has its racial, homosexual and religious hate-crime laws, but Mr Eggleton can’t understand why there are none for the disabled.
Mr Eggleton, who has a disabled family member, says he’s sick of seeing vilification of the disabled in the community.
“People don’t think there’s a strong history of disability vilification, but often these people don’t have a voice,” he said. “Literally, they can’t tell people what happened.
“For disabled people, they’re already disadvantaged and marginalised and miss out on many opportunities. It’s basic human rights.”
Tasmania is the only state with an anti-vilification law for disabled people.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland will announce an Equality Bill later this year to unify hate-crime and discrimination laws in all states and territories; Mr Eggleton wants to make sure disabled people are included.
“I think without this law there’s no foundation for respect or dignity, which is the essential ingredient for human rights,” he said.