Directions for South Australia – Deaf Citizens

“All citizens of South Australia deserve the right to participate in society equally. We must make sure that no one is left behind and celebrate the gain that comes with diversity” – Kelly Vincent MLC

Introduction:

The Dignity Party support creating an equal and inclusive society through the use of Universal Design principals and shifting perspectives on disability. Deaf citizens should be awarded equal participation and respect in society and to secure this participation, rights should be preserved in policy and legislation.

The Dignity Party was proud to initiate policy changes so that all emergency broadcasts made on television would be accompanied by Auslan interpretation. Dignity Party also want to see all safety warnings, police, and fire risk announcements on television accompanied by Auslan Interpretation.

Deaf Awareness Training (DAT) should be compulsory training for all South Australian Police, State Emergency Services, paramedics, country and metropolitan Firefighters, and doctors and nurses employed in emergency departments of hospitals; so that in the event of an emergency, basic, clear communication can avoid catastrophe. All new build public spaces should also be fitted with smoke and emergency alarms fitted with specific flash technology so that people who are deaf are alerted to the risk at hand.

Dignity Party MP Kelly Vincent introduced a bill to Parliament last year which seeks to allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to serve as a member of a jury in a court case with the assistance of an Auslan interpreter. Dignity Party remain committed to ensuring the justice system is accessible to people who are Deaf, and Dignity Party will call on the next State Government to implement the bill introduced by the Hon Kelly Vincent MLC.

Access for Deaf or Hard of Hearing citizens relies on adequate levels of interpreters across the state. The Dignity Party believes that interpreting services for medical, legal and government appointments should be readily available, and that these services should continue to exist free of charge for consumers who do not qualify as participants of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Dignity Party believes that all free to air programming should be broadcast with the option of closed captions, this has already been happening in other countries like America since 2006. Australia has been behind for too long, often broadcasting American shows that would have had captions available when screened overseas, but have been left off the screens in Australia, disenfranchising a large section of society who use captions regularly. Dignity Party strongly support the stricter legislation for captioning to set targets for 100% captioning across all free to air channels.

South Australia has the opportunity to become a national leader in Deaf Education following involvement in the development of the Australian Curriculum of Auslan. Dignity Party believe significant investment in Centres for Deaf Education in South Australia, and dedicated funding for development of curriculum materials would give students who are deaf or hard of hearing the best chance for success and would project South Australia as a hub of Deaf education. These materials could be used across the board with hearing students learning Auslan, or with students who experience communication difficulties.

Action:

Dignity Party envisage a South Australia inclusive and accessible to all; as part of this specific provisions for the cultural and accessibility needs of Deaf South Australians must be accounted for.

In South Australia we must:

  • Ensure all emergency, warning, or safety broadcasts made by SA Government agencies on television are accompanied by an Auslan interpreter.
  • Make Deaf Awareness Training (DAT) compulsory for all emergency services, including police, paramedics, metropolitan and country firefighters, and doctors and nurses employed in emergency departments in hospitals.
  • Have compulsory emergency alarms fitted with flash technology suitable for people who are deaf or hard of hearing installed at all new public space builds, where there is a requirement by law to install emergency alarms.
  • Pass appropriate legislation to allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to serve on a jury in the South Australian Court system with the aid of an Auslan interpreter.
  • Ensure access to Auslan interpreters for medical, legal or government appointments for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and are not participants of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • Advocate for 100% captioning on free to air television enforced by legislation.
  • Invest in South Australian Centres for Deaf Education, and in the development of specified curriculum materials.

Dignity Party OPPOSE systematic discrimination on the basis of disability including Deafness.

Dignity Party PROPOSE inclusive policies which address systematic discrimination and celebrate the notion of ‘Deaf Gain’.