LABOR PAYS TRIBUTE TO GRAEME INNES AM, OUTGOING DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION COMMISSIONER

July 02, 2014


From the end of this week, Australia will be without a full time Disability Discrimination Commissioner thanks to the shameful decision by the Abbott Government to cut funding for the position. And our country will be poorer for it. 

 

 Labor congratulates Graeme Innes AM for his work at the Australian Human Rights Commission over the last decade, and thanks him sincerely for his tireless and often ground-breaking work on behalf of Australians with disability. 

“Hundreds of thousands of Australians with disability, their families and carers have lost one of their strongest advocates,” Shadow Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin said. 

“The Abbott Government has made the wrong choice by cutting funding from a passionate and strong voice for people with disability.” 

Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus added, “Mr Innes has been a powerful and eloquent advocate for people with disability, and has worked to ensure that people with disability have access to the same rights and opportunities as all Australians.” 

“In Opposition Senator Brandis was prepared to publicly criticise Mr Innes for advocating on behalf of Australians with a disability. 

“At the time he blamed the ‘ideological culture’ within the Human Rights Commission,” Mr Dreyfus said. 

“It is deeply regrettable that the Abbott Government chose to appoint Tim Wilson to the Human Rights Commission last year but then failed to provide sufficient resources in this year’s Budget to retain a full time Disability Discrimination Commissioner.” 

Speaking at the National Press Club today, Graeme spoke out against the Abbott Government’s disgraceful demonisation of people with disability, describing the concept of “lifters and leaners” as “facile.” 

Graeme also spoke of his role in advocating for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and confirmed that the NDIS was rolled out exactly when it should have been. 

“Labor thanks Graeme for everything he did to ensure the NDIS became a reality,” Jenny Macklin said. 

“The Abbott Government has tried to silence a very important voice for people with disability through this decision. 

“Labor knows that Graeme will continue the fight for people with disability in other roles he takes on, and looks forward to continuing to work with him and be inspired by him.” 

WEDNESDAY, 2 JULY 2014 

MEDIA CONTACT:

DAVID BLUMENTHAL (DREYFUS) 0418 300 433 

CATHERINE CHARLESON (MACKLIN) 0419 987 947 

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