Episode 10: Self Advocacy

In this episode

In this episode of Inform, we discuss self-advocacy.

We speak with Colin Hiscoe. Colin has been involved in self-advocacy since the early 1980s through Reinforce and has played an important role in the development of the Voices Together Project.

We’ll also be hearing from Sue Smith, from the Self Advocacy Resource Unit, or SARU.  Sue, like Colin, has been involved in advocacy for many years.

We’ll define what self-advocacy is and why it matters. We’ll look at the history of the movement in Australia and the work of the Self Advocacy Resource Unit. And we have some excellent tips and advice for anyone looking to explore self-advocacy for themselves.

A collective voice

More than four million Australians have a disability. That’s 1 in 5 people. If you’re not one of those millions of Australians with a disability, it’s likely that you know someone who is. But Australians with disability are some of the most discriminated against people in the country. Of the complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission, disability discrimination tops the list.

A collective voice or an individual one, self-advocacy is a way in which people with disabilities can have their voices heard.

In the beginning, it’s like I had this dirty big weight lifted from my back. I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to get support from people. I knew nothing about speaking up and self-advocacy. And when I got to this conference. You know? Wow. It just absolutely blew me away. It was almost, it was almost like this dirty big 10 tonne brick or whatever it was that was on my shoulders had been lifted off. And the reason I’m saying that is that their stories were similar to mine. So their stories were my story and my story was their story. We were almost saying the same thing, but maybe in different words but meaning exactly the same thing. And I just wanted to be involved with this really fantastic group.

Colin Hiscoe, President of Reinforce


You can find a transcript of this episode here:

Share your story of self-advocacy

Do you have a story that you’d like to share? Get in touch at [email protected]

Inform is a production of Independence Australia. If you’re keen to hear more, you can go back and listen to our past episodes at our website: www.informonline.org.au/listen

Stay tuned for the next episode of Inform.. In the meantime, subscribe for free to be the first to hear about future episodes on your preferred podcast listening platform.

Host and producer: Kirby Fenwick
Managing editor: Alison Crowe

With thanks to Colin Hiscoe and Sue Smith.

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