2019 AFDO “Next Wave” Advocacy Conference

2019 AFDO “Next Wave” Advocacy Conference

Each year, the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) holds an annual national Advocacy Conference.  At our last Advocacy Conference, we were fortunate to have Senator Jordon Steele-John, a disability rights advocate and Member of the Australian Greens Party as our Keynote speaker.

We were also very fortunate to have Natalie Wade – AFDO’s Expert Advisor on the Disability Royal Commission who conducted an interactive discussion on the Disability Royal Commission, as well as an interview with our President, Liz Reid, and interviews with a panel of young emerging advocates – Bree O’Dwyer, Cee Moore, and Brendon Donohue.

Below are the video recordings that were live-streamed at the time of the conference, as well as the transcripts from each video.

Video 1 – Keynote Address by Senator Jordon Steele-John

Jordon is Australia’s youngest Senator and the first with a lived experience of Cerebral Palsy. A passionate disability rights activist and advocate, Jordon has been involved in the Greens since he was 16. After joining the Parliament in 2017, Jordon has campaigned strongly for justice for disabled people and been an outspoken voice for greater access and inclusion across all aspects of our society.

Campaigning along with AFDO and the wider disability community, Jordon has been a strong advocate for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of disabled people – achieved earlier this year – and for an end to disability discrimination in the places disabled people live, work, learn and access the supports and services that need to live a good life.

Transcript of this video – Senator Jordon Steele-John

Video 2 – Natalie Wade on the Disability Royal Commission

Natalie Wade is the Founder and Principal Lawyer of Equality Lawyers, a law firm which provides everyday legal services to people with disabilities, their families and supporters. Prior to founding Equality Lawyers, Natalie was a solicitor within the South Australian Government. In 2015, Natalie was appointed as a solicitor to the South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission.

Outside of work, Natalie has a strong track record as a disability rights advocate and lawyer. As the Founding Chair of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights’ (ALHR) Disability Rights Subcommittee, Natalie has championed key disability rights advocacy work for ALHR including providing a response to the Senate Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disabilities (2015), assisting on international complaints for a person with cognitive impairment who is indefinitely detained in an Australian prison and providing media commentary on the rights of migrants with disabilities. The combination of Natalie’s lived experience of disability and professional skills gives her expertise a clear focus on the human rights of people with disabilities.

Transcript of this video – Natalie Wade, AFDO Expert Advisor – Disability Royal Commission

Video 3 – Interview with AFDO President, Liz Reid.

Liz is the Executive Officer of YouthWorX NT; a not for profit organisation committed to partnering with Territorians in supporting their lifelong social, economic and career success.  Liz is the current President of Physical Disability Australia (PDA); the PDA representative on the AFDO Board; a member of the City of Darwin Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee; and a member of the National Disability Insurance Agency Independent Advisory Council.

 Transcript of this video – Interview with Liz Reid

Video 4 – Panel Discussion with emerging advocates, Bree O’Dwyer, Cee Moore, and Brendon Donohue.

Cee Moore
C Moore is the Chief Executive Officer of Women with Disabilities ACT, a systemic advocacy and peer support organisation for women, girls, non-binary and feminine identifying people with disabilities in the ACT and region. They are a proudly genderqueer and disabled person, and speak frequently on the intersectionality of gender, disability, and LGBTQIA rights. They were born and raised in Canberra and began advocating for their peers as a teenager on their school board.

They graduated with a degree in Science from ANU and a Certificate IV Population Health at CIT before becoming a full-time advocate. C is particularly passionate about housing and health and has served on the board of Better Renting, and as a consumer representative with the Health Care Consumers Association of the ACT. They are a graduate of the Disability Leadership Institute Future Shapers program, and the winner of the 2018 Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award for Emerging Young Leader.

Bree O’Dwyer
Bree is the Youth Disability Advocate at the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS), which is a core agency of Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic). YDAS is the only advocacy service in Victoria dedicated to supporting young people with disability to achieve their human rights.

Prior to advocate-life Bree studied and trained as a lawyer. Her experience and training includes community legal service provision for young people dealing with employment disputes and the criminal justice system. Bree was also in the first cohort of students to complete the Disability Human Rights Clinic at Melbourne Law School.

In 2016 Bree was the major winner of the Department of Justice Disability Leadership Scholarship, which allowed her to complete her legal studies. Bree’s focus is on supporting young people with disabilities to advocate for their rights and navigate dealing with the multiple support agencies available.
Bree has found, through her client work and her own experience, that her most difficult advocacy issues are in education. She wants to ensure young people with disabilities have appropriate access and support at school and university.

Brendon Donohue
My Name is Brendon Donohue and I am a young blind advocate that focuses on advocating for a better life for blind/low vision Australians in the areas of website, App and transport accessibility products.

I have worked with many businesses in particular Seek.com, the employment website after they re-designed their website and destroyed it for blind/low vision persons. After 2 years and two disability discrimination complaints we are now back on track!

I have also been able to get Audio installed in lifts, I have been able to get Braille signage replaced when it has been damaged. I have also been able to get my bank to make changes to their rollout of online inaccessible bank statements.

.Transcript of this video – Panel Discussion with emerging advocates

AFDO acknowledges and thanks the Department of Social Services for a grant which supported the 2019 AFDO “Next Wave” Advocacy Conference.



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