Disability groups come together to inform about voice


A group of disability representative organisations has joined with First Nations advocates to ensure there's accessible information about the referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament.

Damian Griffis, spokesperson for the Disability Collective for Voice and CEO of First Peoples Disability Network, said it was important the disability community was informed before the poll on October 14.

"With four million Australians living with disability, it is incredibly important that voting is accessible," he said.

"This means everything from information materials on the voice to voting facilities and, as a collective, we're determined to ensure that information on a voice to parliament is accessible to all groups across Australia so everyone can make an informed decision at the referendum."

First Peoples Disability Network worked with other representative organisations like Inclusion Australia, which represents people with an intellectual disability, and radio for the print handicapped, which assists people with impaired vision.

"It's difficult to think of any more disadvantaged Australians than First Nations people with disability," Mr Griffis said.

"But also, we're anxious to ensure that the wider Australian disability community, which is very large and a very significant voting bloc in its own right, has access to information in ways that they can understand."

Indigenous academic Marcia Langton told the National Press Club this week that a 'yes' vote would deliver hope and healing, while a 'no' vote would continue the cycle of disadvantage and disempowerment.

Muriel Bamblett chairs the national body for First Nations children, SNAICC, and is also CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency.

Professor Bamblett said if Indigenous people were involved in decisions that affected, better outcomes would be achieved, pointing to statistics on reuniting children in out-of-home care with their families.

She said the agency she headed up reunited Indigenous children with their families at twice the rate of the state department.

"It's important that we have Aboriginal people sitting at the table and being able to talk about what are really big issues for Aboriginal people on the ground," she said.

"I don't want to wake up on the 15th of October to an Australia that doesn't recognise our voice and our need for a voice."

Mr Griffis said there was a range of accessible information for members of the Australian disability community on the group's website.

"Inform yourself in the best way you can," he said.

"Seek information from people you trust and from sources you trust, seek information from friends and colleagues within the Australian disability community."