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National Ethnic Disability Alliance - WAGE ASSESSMENT AND PEOPLE

By Jonathan Mitchell,2014-12-02 11:26
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National Ethnic Disability Alliance - WAGE ASSESSMENT AND PEOPLE

    A DECADE OF THE

    CTH DISABILITY

     DISCRIMINATION ACT

    A Paper Prepared by the: National Ethnic Disability

    Alliance

    (NEDA)

    November 2001

    ? NEDA 2001

    The DDA: NEDA Response 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    A TOOL FOR CHANGE? ............................................................................................................... 3 NESB-DISABILITY ISSUES & THE DDA ....................................................................................... 4 ACCESSING THE DDA ................................................................................................................... 4

    General Issues ........................................................................................................................ 4

    Information .............................................................................................................................. 4

    Comprehension ....................................................................................................................... 4

    NESB-Disability Intersection .................................................................................................... 5 EDUCATING NESB COMMUNITIES .................................................................................................. 5

    Disability .................................................................................................................................. 5

    Rights ...................................................................................................................................... 5 DDA ISSUES................................................................................................................................. 6

    Immigration ............................................................................................................................. 6

    Discrimination in Employment ................................................................................................. 6

    DDA Standards ....................................................................................................................... 7 THE RDA ..................................................................................................................................... 7 SOLUTIONS ................................................................................................................................... 8

    Partnership .............................................................................................................................. 8

    Education / Information ........................................................................................................... 8

    Access & Equity ...................................................................................................................... 8

    Training ................................................................................................................................... 8

    Interpreters / Translators ......................................................................................................... 8

    Financial Burden ..................................................................................................................... 8

    Using the RDA ........................................................................................................................ 8 APPENDIX 1: NEDA .................................................................................................................... 11 THE NATIONAL ETHNIC DISABILITY ALLIANCE ................................................................................ 11

    WHAT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NESB-DISABILITY? ........................................................................ 11

    The DDA: NEDA Response 2

A TOOL FOR CHANGE?

    Whilst NEDA certainly supports the existence of a Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to safeguard the rights and interests of people with disability, the current legislation has failed to deliver concrete outcomes to people from a NESB with disability. Therefore, in terms of NEDA‟s constituency, the DDA has not been a useful tool for change.

    The DDA: NEDA Response 3

NESB-DISABILITY ISSUES & THE DDA

    Accessing the DDA

    General Issues

    Generally, people from a NESB with disability are reluctant to us the DDA due to: ; The complexity of the process involved high degree of English literacy and comprehension of

    the Australian legal and service system is required.

    ; Fear of reprisal a very real fear for those who originally come from countries under harsh

    dictatorships.

    ; The associated costs by and large, people from a NESB with disability are poorer than their

    Anglo-Australian counterparts.

    ; The adversarial nature of making complaints in comparison to many parts of the world,

    Australia does manage to provide for people with disability. Given this reality, some people

    from a NESB with disability feel uncomfortable making use of such an adversarial process as it

    would seem „ungrateful‟.

    ; The burden of proof that rests on the complainant.

    Information

    The DDA and its various processes are not accessible to people from a NESB with disability. The primary reason for this is that most of the information is produced in English. Unfortunately, many of the DDA processes are not know to people from a NESB with disability. A User Guide to the

    Disability Discrimination Act was produced in different community languages. Unfortunately, this document is no longer produced.

    Also, a certain degree of English literacy is needed to understand the workings of the DDA. NEDA‟s constituents come from non-English speaking backgrounds and for some people from a

    NESB, developing English language skills takes time. Government funding in terms of English classes is extremely low and most of the time, these classes are not accessible to people with disability.

    Comprehension

    Whilst English literacy can be an issue for people from a NESB, there is also an issue with comprehension of the DDA, of disability rights of the Australian service system etc. Information provided to the community about these issues is not accessible (i.e. either the information is in English only or in formats not accessible to people with disability or is written in complex formats that are not accessible to anybody). To be able to use the DDA effectively, an individual must have at least a decent comprehension of Australian law, policies and services. In addition, an individual must also have an understanding of rights, given that the DDA is a rights-based piece of legislation. For many people with disability, and especially for people from a NESB, the idea of disability rights is still very new.

    The DDA: NEDA Response 4

NESB-Disability Intersection

    People from a NESB with disability experience discrimination based on the basis of their disability and their ethnicity. It has been NEDA‟s experience that issues of ethnicity and disability are interdependent and one cannot be valued over the other or even separated out.

    Given that people from a NESB with disability experience multiple layers of discrimination, it becomes difficult to separate the different forms of discrimination experienced, especially given that discrimination can take on very subtle forms.

    Example:

    A person with a disability working in a Sheltered Workshop is told to go into the Manager‟s office.

    The Manager closes the door and then calls the person a ‘crippled wog’.

    Has the person been discriminated against on the basis of their disability or their ethnicity? Unfortunately, the DDA, like many other forms of Australian legislation, is unable to cope with the disability-ethnicity intersection.

    Educating NESB Communities

    Disability

    By and large, NESB communities have missed out on education campaigns about disability because those conducting the campaigns have failed to target and reach NESB communities. At the same time, there have been consultations with people from a NESB with disability, but unfortunately the consultations have not resulted in the development of concrete strategies. People from a NESB with disability and their carers are often stigmatised and isolated because of attitudes and misconceptions prevalent in their own communities and in the Anglo-Australian community. Many migrant families with a member with a disability tend to socialise less, and have fewer contacts with other people, often only with people who accept disability. Beneath this isolation can lie a migration process that is a traumatic and isolating experience. For some people from a NESB, relatives, friends, social and support networks are no longer available and are difficult to establish in a new country.

    Rights

    Given that NESB communities have not been targeted in terms of education about disability, the issue of disability rights is even less known about. This contributes to the high levels of discrimination and exclusion experienced by NESB people with disability and also to the low take up rate of DDA complaints.

    The DDA: NEDA Response 5

DDA Issues

    Immigration

    Specific sections within the Migration Act give the Australian Minister for Immigration and

    Multicultural Affairs discretionary power to grant admittance into Australia. It is our experience that this process does not allow for consistency or fairness and encapsulates the „squeaky wheel‟ syndrome which means that sometimes the loudest or the most desperate, provided they are aggressive enough, get what they want, whilst others miss out.

    This process also flies in the face of the Federal Government‟s publicly stated commitment about valuing people with disability by allowing such blatant discrimination to take place. In fact, the exemption of the Migration Act from the Disability Discrimination Act epitomises the

    two-tiered value system afforded to people with disability living in Australia on the one hand, and potential migrants with disability on the other.

    The current immigration practices have their greatest impact on families. It is not uncommon for families to immigrate, leaving behind the family member with the disability with a relative. Once settled, they apply for this member to immigrate to Australia. This process is proving to be extremely traumatic for the family, especially for the individual who has been left behind. NEDA is currently working with HREOC on this issue.

    Discrimination in Employment

    Employment is another area in which discrimination against people from a NESB with disability is extremely high, particularly within “Sheltered Workshop” (Business Services).

    The low take-up figures of people from a NESB with disability for Commonwealth funded disability services is evidence of this:

    ; the 1999 FaCS Disability Services Census show 93 per cent of consumers were born in

    English-speaking countries and only 4 per cent were born in a country where languages other

    than English were spoken

    ; the 199 FaCS Disability Services Census show 93 per cent of consumers were born in English-

    speaking countries and only only 4.1 per cent were born in a country where languages other

    than English were spoken

    ; the 1997 FaCS Disability Services Census show 93 per cent of consumers were born in

    English-speaking countries and only 3.6 per cent were born in a country where languages

    other than English were spoken.

    The continuing trend is that the figures continue to remain the same for people from NESB

    with disability.

    The issue of accessing government-funded services is perhaps one of the primary issues facing people from NESB with disability.

    The DDA: NEDA Response 6

DDA Standards

    NEDA has continued to participate in the DDA Standards Project and support the development of Standards.

    Unfortunately, the Standards process has been extremely frustrating, particularly for those in the disability sector and ultimately for people with disability.

    The RDA

    The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 was the first piece of anti-discrimination legislation enacted by the Commonwealth government. The RDA makes racial discrimination unlawful in all areas of public life and it gives rights to equality before the law to people of all races, national and ethnic origins this include people with disability.

    However, like the DDA, the RDA is a very complex piece of legislation. Consultations conducted by HREOC have indicated that many people do not have a good grasp of the contents of the Act and anecdotal evidence suggests that people from a NESB with disability have not made use of the RDA.

    People with disability from a NESB can be reluctant to lodge complaints for the same reasons they are reluctant to use the DDA (see section titled ‘Cultural Issues’ on page 4 for more

    information).

    Like the DDA, the RDA encompasses an individual complaints based model, though there are allowances for representative complaints. This means that the act has little capacity to deal with systemic racial discrimination.

    The DDA: NEDA Response 7

SOLUTIONS

    Partnership

    ; Work closely with NEDA to develop appropriate solutions to the issues facing people from

    NESB with disability in relation to the DDA (HREOC is currently working with NEDA on various

    issues relating to people from a NESB with disability).

    Education / Information

    ; Community education and information campaign to NESB communities to increase awareness

    about disability issues, rights and the DDA.

    ; Development of concrete and relevant multilingual information and resources about disability,

    rights and the DDA.

    Access & Equity

    ; Undertake accredited Access and Equity audit in relation to DDA processes to develop and

    implement an appropriate Access and Equity plan.

    ; Monitor, evaluate and further research the impact of Access & Equity plans in terms of

    participation and people from NESB.

    ; Conduct further research to identify barriers to people from NESB with disability using the DDA. Training

    ; Funding, developing and attending training in how to provide culturally competent information. ; HREOC staff to access accredited Cultural Competency Training relevant to their area of

    service provision.

    Interpreters / Translators

    ; Disability awareness training provided to interpreters and translators.

    Financial Burden

    ; Financial assistance granted to people from a NESB with disability who cannot meet the costs

    associated with making complaints.

    Using the RDA

    For people with disability to access the RDA at the same rate as those without a disability, changes need to be made:

    ; community education targeted at ethnic communities with some specific focus on people with

    disability to encourage the use of the RDA should discrimination occur on the basis of race ; education provided to advocacy services dealing with people from a NESB with disability to

    assist advocates in the use of the RDA

    The DDA: NEDA Response 8

; simplification of the current processes used

    ; research conducted into how people from a NESB with disability can best use either the RDA

    or the DDA (or both) when seeking redress for discrimination.

The DDA: NEDA Response 9

THE DDA - PRIORITIES FOR NEDA

    1.) Education of NESB communities about disability, rights, the DDA and its processes.

    2.) Development of culturally competent DDA processes, including a complaints form.

    3.) Access to services for people from a NESB with disability - especially to employment services.

    4.) Development of accessible information about disability, rights, the DDA and its processes.

    5.) Immigration and the discriminatory processes currently being used to exclude people with disability from entering Australia.

    6.) Research into the intersection of ethnicity and disability within a legislative context. The DDA: NEDA Response 10

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