Australian Greens senator fights for disability rights

Posted 6 years ago by Andrew Lodiong

New Australian Greens senator Jordon Steele-John has laid down a marker for creating change after putting forward his stance on disability representation in the workplace.

Among a range of issues, the Western Australian senator wowed to be a ‘tireless champion’ for people with disability.

“It is time this parliament took proactive steps to address the entrenched discrimination felt by those with a lived experience of disability in relation to employment, and I will make it my mission along with the Australian Greens to bring about positive change in this sector,” Mr Steele-John says.

Mr Steele-John, 23, made history on 29 November when he became the youngest senator to address parliament, making his very first speech.

Senator Steele-John feels it’s a “national disgrace” that almost one in two Australians living with a disability are without work.

“There has been no suggestion that the government take up proactive public sector targets for people with a disability and no suggestion of an innovation fund to enable the employment of people with a disability,” he says

“I find this so concerning because our own human rights commission has indicated that discrimination in relation to disability comprises 37 percent of all complaints received annually.”

“Given these statistics, the government must make a concerted effort to ensure that employers act in a non-discriminatory way towards people with a disability and understand their obligations under the law.”

Mr Steele-John, who lives with mild cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair has been active in his role after being sworn in earlier this year, replacing Scott Ludlam who had to step down amid the duel citizen saga.

Mr Steele-John, feels the NDIS and the Disability Support Pension are not a solution to meaningful employment despite being “critical safety nets in our society”.