Each year, the Victorian Public Advocate formally recognises the achievements and bravery of advocates who have spoken out on sensitive and difficult issues, and thereby, contributed to improving the human rights of people.

Last week, the Victorian Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce recognised the outstanding achievements of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) in effecting positive change through strong advocacy for the rights of people with disability.

This Award was in recognition that AFDO has been fearless in taking on major systemic issues that impact on the human rights of people with disability, including speaking out on:

  • the continuing violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability;
  • access to justice for people with disability;
  • accessing the NDIS; and
  • health issues.

Action on these issues is critically impotant to the wellbeing and inclusion of people with disability.”








Image: Victorian Public Advocate – Colleen Pearce presenting Victorian Advocacy Award to AFDO Vice President – Trevor Carroll and AFDO CEO – Ross Joyce.

When presenting AFDO with the 2019 Public Advocate Award, Colleen Pearce said “I have seen how AFDO has taken real and tireless action on these issues, and achieved significant breakthroughs, despite the many hurdles and resource constraints.  AFDO constantly challenges the status quo for people with disability, and pushes organisations to engage and do something to make sure that organisations and decision-makers listen directly to the voice and experience of people with disability.

When the Australian Government announced it would be significantly cutting back prisoner’s suspension period for receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP), which would have a serious setback for many people’s wellbeing and rehabilitation when they leave prison after only a short-term incarceration, AFDO took the lead on this issue when few others even realised how detrimental the decision would be for this already extremely disadvantaged group.  And to AFDO’s great credit, their advocacy and leadership led to this decision being reversed. “

AFDO CEO, Ross Joyce and AFDO Vice-President, Trevor Carroll accepted the award on behalf of the AFDO Board and staff, and thanked the Victorian Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce for recognising that AFDO undertakes a huge variety of work to get our messages out, and to effect change.









Image: L>R, AFDO CEO – Ross Joyce, AFDO Vice President – Trevor Carroll, Victorian Public Advocate – Colleen Pearce.

This award was presented to AFDO at our recent Members Forum where we were fortunate enough to have several of our Board members in attendance.  









Image: L>R,  AFDO Director’s – Christine Hunter & Nick Rushworth, AFDO CEO – Ross Joyce, AFDO Vice President – Trevor Carroll, Victorian Public Advocate – Colleen Pearce, AFDO Director – Felicity Crowther