A delegation of people with disability is getting ready to present to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN Committee) about the progress Australia has made to make our rights real.
The UN Committee is reviewing Australia’s progress in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 12th and 13th September 2019, and as part of this review, it will listen to the views of the delegation of people with disability.
List of delegates
Mr Damian Griffis, Delegation Lead and Mentor. Damian is a Worimi man and a leading advocate for the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. Damian has been a central figure in the establishment of both the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN). Damian represents FPDN at regional, national and international forums. In 2014, he won the Tony Fitzgerald (Community Individual) Memorial Award at the Australian Human Rights Awards.
Ms Judy Huett, Delegation Lead and Mentor. Judy is a member of the Speak Out Association of Tasmania, Inclusion Australia, Empower Us – Inclusion International Self Advocacy Committee, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA), and the Expert Panel for the Virtual Centre Project Independent Advisory Council Intellectual Disability Reference Group. In 2013 she went to Geneva as part of the Australian Expert Delegation. She has spoken about employment and closing institutions, led a submission to the Tasmanian government when they were proposing a human rights charter, and worked with the Speak Out members to talk about the issues that come up in Tasmania for people with intellectual disability. Judy has represented Speak Out at the World Congress of International Inclusion in 2010, 2016 & 2017.
Mr Noel Muller. Noel has been active in Queensland and National organisations established to provide a voice for those with a lived experience of psychosocial disability and mental illness, such as Queensland Voice for Mental Health Inc. (QV), the National Mental Health Consumer Carer Forum (NMHCCF) and Mental Health Australia’s (MHA) National Register (NR) of Consumer and Carer representatives. He is a member of the current Shadow Report Working Group and was also a member of the Shadow Report Working Group in the leadup to and development of the first Shadow Report in 2013.
Ms Lauren Henley. In 2014, Lauren was one of seven young people with disability selected to attend the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD at the United Nations. She also joined the Australian Public Service as Advisor to the Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), where she provided high level policy advice on a range of issues impacting upon the full and equal participation of people with disability. In 2015, Lauren moved into the AHRC’s Education and Training Team and developing a training package on the practical application of the CRPD, targeted towards policy and projects staff working across the NSW public service, and continues to deliver this training for the AHRC on a consultancy basis today.
Ms Sonia Hume. A self advocate and the vice-president of the Speak Out Members’ Executive, Sonia represents Speak Out members on the North-west coast of Tasmania, a rural and remote area. Reps organise the self advocacy groups in Burnie, Hobart and Launceston, and meet in Launceston each month to discuss disability issues and work out what is important to do. As part of the Mainstream and Me team of Community Educators, Sonia has presented workshops to over 350 people from mainstream services. She has been part of a panel about abuse with the Anti-discrimination Commissioner, and an advisory group for research about personal safety and abuse with Sally Robinson, Senior Research Fellow, Southern Cross University. She has also presented at the Having a Say Conference, Speak Out Conferences, the 2018 ASSID conference and the NDIS CEOs forum.
Mr Justen Thomas. Justen has been working with the Intellectual Disability Rights Service, New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability and the University of New South Wales on Access to Justice issues for some years now. He has represented IDRS and NSWCID in various public fora to discus the issue of people with disability in the criminal justice system. He was involved in a NSWCID state-wide project delivering training to juvenile justice agencies about people with disability in the criminal justice system, and has blogged about experiences in the criminal justice system and developed a youtube clip about his experiences. In April 2019 Justen represented the voices of people with disability to the Victorian Public Advocates Forum on People with Disability and the Criminal Justice System, and presented at the Justice Reintegration Puzzle Conference in Darwin.
Ms Kelly Cox. Kelly is a former board member of Ability Advocacy and has longstanding relationships and has carried out work for numerous peak disability bodies, including PWDA, WWDA, and FPDN. She is currently on an access reference group for local council and actively works to promote disability rights in women’s spaces, especially in the space of violence, abuse and neglect. Kelly has provided expert advice to DHS for the Royal Commission Redress group (into institutional responses into child sexual abuse). Kelly has run local workshops in conjunction with peaks bodies like PWDA and is often invited to speak on disability related topics in the media or for organisations. She has strong links to her local Aboriginal community as a result of previous work at the Local Aboriginal Land Council where she was in a management position delivering Home Care to Aboriginal Elders. She is currently carrying out contract work for First Peoples Disability Network to assist Aboriginal people with disability to navigate the NDIS, and assisting local Aboriginal organisations to build their understanding of the NDIS to better equip them to support community members with disability. She is one of four disabled women who run the NDIS Grassroots Discussion group, a group of almost 48,000 people on social media who manage peer support inquiries about the scheme every day.