Accessibility

A couple of people have noted that they’re having difficulty reading my posts because of the lack of contrast. The font, colour, and contrast settings on my site are based on my own access needs (I’m photosensitive and prone to migraines), but if you would like to read my posts in higher contrast with a dark font on light background, you can do so at the WordPress reader here.

I’m going to ask around and see if I know anyone who can help me sort out website toggles for colour, contrast, and font size, because multimodal access is important!

Love & solidarity
robin

A note on language

The language we use around disability is important. One of the schisms in the disability community is around identity first vs person first language, i.e. “disabled person” vs “person with a disability”. Lots of us have strong preferences for one over the other.

Usually when we have a preference for particular phrasing, we have good reasons for it. Many disabled people do use identity first language for ourselves, in preference over person first language. Often parents and clinicians/sector workers prefer person first language. There’s no real community consensus on person first vs identity first, so in itself this isn’t necessarily a problem, but it becomes a problem when nondisabled people take it upon themselves to police the use of language about a community that they do not belong to.

(Imagine, if you will, that it was very common for male parents of daughters to insist that it was offensive to call women “women”, and that you should instead call them “people with womanhood”. Or for straight parents of gay children to insist that people should say “people with gayness”. And in response to the protests of gay people, to respond: clearly you’re not as gay as MY child, you couldn’t possibly understand homophobia as well as I do as a straight parent…)

Autistic people in particular express a STRONG community preference for identity first over person first language. This is not a matter of individual aberrance. Overwhelmingly we prefer to be referred to as autistic people. Some people do prefer to be called “people who have autism” or “people with autism”, but these people are statistically in the minority. You should absolutely respect their language preferences too, but it is better to default to “autistic” or “on the autism spectrum” if you are going to default to anything. If you are speaking about an individual, either take your cue from the language they use to describe themselves, or simply ask what their preferred terminology is.

Deaf people also tend to prefer identity first language, and culturally Deaf people often use a capital D to distinguish between Deafness (Deaf culture) and deafness (physiological hearing loss). Capital-D Deaf people often do not consider Deafness to be a disability, but rather a minority culture and language group, which is why you will sometimes see the phrase “Disabled and/or D/deaf”.

Depending on the specific person, respectful usage might be either “disabled person” or “person with a disability”. In my experience the people around me tend to prefer the former, or the use of both interchangeably. There are lots of reasons for this. One is that “disabled” is an adjective like any other, and we might not feel the need to separate ourselves from our disabled identities because we don’t consider disability to lessen our worth as people, or because we don’t see being disabled as necessarily inherently bad. I personally don’t think that “disabled” automatically cancels out the “person” in “disabled person”. Another reason is that this phrasing invokes the social model of disability, i.e. that we are disabled by our environments rather than by our bodies, or in other words: in capitalist Australia, society disables you! (The social model is not always perfect, but is generally considered a step above the medical model; I’m a big fan of Alison Kafer’s political/relational model.) You should not use “disabled” as a noun (i.e. “the disabled”); it is an adjective or a verb.

The notable exception is intellectual disability — respectful terminology here is generally “person with an intellectual disability”, “person with Down Syndrome”, and so on.

There are other areas where person-first is more respectful — for example when referring to specific conditions, such as people with spinal cord injuries (as opposed to “spinal cord injured people”), people who have connective tissue disorders (as opposed to “connective tissue disordered people”), people with muscular dystrophy (as opposed to muscular dystrophied people), people who have cerebral palsy (as opposed to “cerebral palsied people”), people who experience chronic pain (as opposed to “chronically pained people”). Most of the time the grammar follows fairly logically. This is also preferable to referring to us as “patients” (we aren’t always) or as “suffering from [xyz condition]” (unless that condition is ableism, in which case yes, we are all suffering. Badly.)

There are also different implications across different languages. Some multilingual people may use different terminology depending on what is standard in their language or culture.

Person-first language initially emerged out of disability activism, partially as an attempt to move away from terms such as “handicapped” and “special needs”. Some older activists prefer person first language for this reason. On that note I have never met a disabled person who actually wanted to be referred to as “handicapable”, “differently abled”, “diffabled”, “diversabled”, etc. If you meet a disabled person who says they prefer this language then please use it for them. I am not one of those people, and if you use one of these terms about me I will assume that you are either 1. making a joke or 2. have never actually met a disabled person. In either case we will laugh and move on and hopefully you will never use the phrase again.

Lots of media guidelines for respectful terminology are developed in consultation with the disability sector (i.e. largely abled service providers) rather than with the disability community. So you should take most of them with a grain of salt. Take a second to think about the language you use. If a guideline recommends to say “wheelchair user” rather than “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair-bound”, you can probably figure out why that is. (For the record it is because wheelchairs are mobility aids, not prisons. They help us get around, they don’t prevent us from doing so.) On the other hand if a guideline recommends to say “person with amputeeism” rather than “amputee” in order to “separate the person from the disability”, then you might want to check in with your local amputee first.

If you research person first and identity first language you will largely find work focusing on autistic experiences. This is probably because the autistic community is perhaps where the schism is widest. Autistic people care a lot about our preference for being called autistic, and “autism parents” can be very vocal about their preference for calling their children “with autism” (and correcting other people on their language usage).

Personally I prefer to be called autistic and would be deeply uncomfortable with being called a “person with autism” or “person diagnosed with ASD”, though all are technically accurate. “Person who lives with autism” sounds as if Autism is a weird spectre haunting my wardrobe. I am slightly less uncomfortable with “has autism” if it is used in the sense of “Robin has autism” as opposed to “Robin is a person who has autism”, but I am still not a huge fan of either.  I am pretty fine with “on the autism spectrum”. I’m not especially fond of “Aspie” because Hans Asperger was a Nazi, though lots of autistic people do value the term. (Asperger Syndrome no longer exists as a diagnostic category.) “High functioning” and “low functioning” are harmful descriptors, and difficult to define regardless, especially since “functioning” levels can change according to context or develop over time.

I prefer to be called disabled but don’t mind occasionally being called a person with a disability. I do mind being told that I must refer to myself as a person with a disability (or “person with disability”) — especially given that I have multiple disabilities! If a nondisabled person is using the phrase “person with a disability” exclusively then it reads as a little out of touch. I prefer to be called a wheelchair user rather than “in a wheelchair”, “wheelchair-bound”, or “confined to a wheelchair”. I am fine with being called Mad, neurodivergent, mentally ill, person with mental illnesses, or person with psychiatric disabilities. Other people will have very different preferences to myself on this; the neurodivergent/Mad community has a lot to say around the depathologisation of neurological/psychiatric variation and how that relates to language.

There are some words that I use about myself (often jokingly) that I prefer other people not use, or use sparingly, or use only if they also identify with those terms. Generally I am fine with being called a crip. It might depend on the context. “Robin is a crip activist” is fine. I sometimes refer to myself as a cripple, but generally prefer not to be called this by other people unless they identify with the term themselves (the exception here is very old friends who have learnt my particular brand of dark humour). I do not like to be referred to as crippled, or as experiencing “crippling” anything. For me, the point of reclaiming “crip/cripple” is to take back the harmful power of these words and embrace their invocation of identity. Using “crippling” as a verb defeats this purpose and returns it to the implication of destruction and worthlessness. Generally I would advise using “debilitating”, “disabling”, or “crushing” in place of “crippling”.

I also think it’s best to say the word “disability” rather than avoiding or euphemising around the term. Substituting the word “ability” for “disability” (as in “ability space” or “abilities collective”) makes it sound like the space or collective is a space for abled people. Linguistic contortions like dis/ability, disABILITY and (dis)ability are incoherent to screenreading software, difficult to read as an autistic person, and make it seem as if “disability” is something bad and unnameable. Of course disabled people have abilities, but “see the ability not the disability” doesn’t help me navigate inaccessible environments, it just obscures the format of my marginalisation. If you wouldn’t remove the “dis” from “disenfranchised”, don’t remove it from “disabled”.

I have explained my own preferences to give a sense of the variation around different terms, and hopefully to shed light on the implications of these words, and how they might be received. You should not assume that my preferences are everyone’s preferences. Where I have referred to communities, I have tried to accurately convey the feelings of my communities as I understand them; where I have referred to my own feelings, I mean exactly that.

A lot of the time it comes down to nuance, and unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules. It might seem arbitrary and difficult from the outside, but no one’s going to beat down your door and arrest you if you use the wrong words. I just probably won’t answer your request for an interview. And I might think you’re a bit of a dick. Or I might go away with a slightly queasy feeling, and feel a bit sad and lonely for the rest of the day. On a community level it might make disabled people feel alienated or ignored, and it reinforces certain structural hierarchies that depend on disabled people being denied the capacity to define ourselves, and defined instead by those with power over us (i.e. nondisabled people, and the structures of government, medicine, and law). Ultimately the point of all of this is making an effort because we care about each other. All I can ask of anyone is that you be willing to listen and learn. It’s okay to make mistakes, but try not to keep making the same mistakes over and over.

Language matters. Equally, however, it is important to remember that commitment to disability justice and liberation is about more than just style guides and lists of forbidden words and phrases. The point is not the words and phrases themselves, but the ideology underlying them. I have been denied essential services because my doctor at the time told me “I know that your condition is permanent, but I’m going to mark it down as temporary, because I don’t want you to think of yourself as disabled“. I don’t know if this anecdote is an argument for or against identity first language, but either way the problem was not the words my doctor used but the logic beneath them.

At the end of the day you should follow an individual’s preference — but it’s also important to ensure that your default phrasing is as per the preferences of the community itself, not the preferences of our parents or doctors.  The only way you can know what a community’s preferences are is to listen to that community. Listen to disabled people, not just disabled individuals. Don’t correct people on the language that they use to describe themselves. Probably don’t correct people on the language they use to describe other people, unless one of the people they are describing is you. These things change over time. I’m sorry if it’s confusing. Allowing people the capacity for self-definition is important, but it’s not always easy. We’re all just trying to muddle along as best we can.

Further reading:
http://autisticadvocacy.org/about-asan/identity-first-language/
http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/describing.aspx
https://ncdj.org/2016/01/journalists-should-learn-to-carefully-traverse-a-variety-of-disability-terminology/
https://radicalcopyeditor.com/2017/07/03/person-centered-language/
https://www.thinkinclusive.us/why-person-first-language-doesnt-always-put-the-person-first/
http://ncdj.org/style-guide/
http://cdrnys.org/disability-writing-journalism-guidelines/
https://ollibean.com/person-first-language-and-ableism/
https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/i-am-disabled-on-identity-first-versus-people-first-language/
https://www.bustle.com/p/what-is-identity-first-language-should-you-use-it-74901
http://autismmythbusters.com/general-public/autistic-vs-people-with-autism/jim-sinclair-why-i-dislike-person-first-language/
https://autismwomensnetwork.org/failings-person-first-language/

And, for good measure, one last article from a nondisabled parent of an autistic child:
https://www.romper.com/p/5-reasons-why-i-use-identity-first-language-for-my-autistic-daughter-43480

Radio segments & lists of autistics

I’m flat out working on my thesis right now but thought I’d chuck up a blog post with a link to a couple of radio segments I’ve done lately – one with Laura Cheyne for 2ser’s Think: Health on how the media marginalises disability, and one with Swetha Das and Maddison Connaughton for FBi Radio’s Backchat, on the NDIS and the ditching of the Medicare levy.

I’ve also been featured in a couple of excellent lists of autistic writers, artists, & activists on the heels of Autism Bewareness Month – one over at Rooted in Rights, compiled by the inestimable Alaina Leary, and one compiled by Anomalous Press. The latter includes the loveliest description of my work I’ve ever read:

Robin M. Eames’ work explores the mythic and the personal. But it’s in the fissures, the spaces in-between, where their art finds purchase. Here it grows and spreads, providing shelter, nourishment, and encouragement for other marginalized disabled people to continue on.

I’m currently working on a very exciting project with Alice Wong for the Disability Visibility Project, so keep an eye out for that! I’ll post details here when the project goes live.

Love & solidarity as always x

Article out in Junkee on Stephen Hawking

I wrote an article for Junkee about Stephen Hawking and the media reception of his death. You can read it here.

Excerpt:

Stephen Hawking died two days ago. He was an extraordinary and uncommon academic, a scientist with a deep sense of artistry and a wicked sense of humour. And he was a bright fire in the lonely sky of disabled academia.

I am not a scientist. But I am a wheelchair-using academic, and I have a lot of feelings about space; my thesis has “cosmogonies” in the title. Hawking’s work was a joy and his presence in the world was a comforting reminder that people like me belong in academia just as much as any abled person does.

So it is disappointing, and deeply hurtful, to see how abled people are handling the news of Hawking’s death.

Many abled people have created artistic depictions where Hawking’s spirit is seen standing or walking away from his wheelchair. Leaving aside the fact that Hawking was a staunch atheist who described the idea of an afterlife as a “fairy story”, this fundamentally misunderstands the function of a wheelchair in a disabled person’s life.

Hawking is not “finally free” of his wheelchair now that he is dead. His wheelchair is the thing that gave him freedom during his life. The only time he ever envisioned himself mystically floating away into a sparkly cosmos, it was with his chair: go ahead and watch his cover of Monty Python’s ‘Galaxy Song’ if you want to see for yourself.

Read the full article on Junkee here.

 

 

 

MELANCHOLIA

I have a blackout poem out in Streetcake Magazine today!

It uses the text of Robert Burton’s Last Will and Testament, contained in the front matter of The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up, first published 1621.

The poem and its transcription are reproduced below.

 

melancholia


 

Cui vitam dedit et mortem

Melancholia

 

Azure                   a crescent

death,                 following

casualties to which our life is subject

our                   unsettled states

have

perfect

adventure     of which I am ignorant

First

whensoever

I make

Legacies out of

specified

life                             Lady

if he be not

of the Ground                 I give

equally

other

days                                                                   I

long   to

bestow

purpose

to the

grave

perpetual

 

to redeem

my

remembrance

I desire

to be

where she is buried

besides                         I die

till then

 

Disability Day of Mourning fundraiser

fight

Image: a black shirt with text in light blue and bright red, reading MOURN FOR THE DEAD, FIGHT LIKE HELL FOR THE LIVING, a quote from Mother Jones.

I’m volunteering as Sydney site coordinator for the Disability Day of Mourning again this year, but I need some help to cover the costs of venue hire, public liability insurance, and printing event materials.

If you can, please consider buying a shirt (or a hoodie, sweatshirt, or tank top) to help cover the costs involved. There’s an option to add a donation to the cost of the shirt if you’re feeling especially kind. They come in black, charcoal, navy, indigo, and purple.

Link to the Bonfire campaign here: Disability Day of Mourning

Alternatively, if you hate wearing clothes but would still like to help out, you can send $$ via paypal.me/robinmarceline.

Crip love & solidarity 

In the past five years, over 550 disabled people have been murdered by their parents, relatives or caregivers.

On Thursday, March 1st, disability communities in Sydney and around the world will gather to remember the disabled victims of filicide – disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers.

In the year since our last vigil, our community has lost 100 more people to filicide. These are just the cases that we are aware of – since we began monitoring this issue, we learn about more murders every week. The total number of deaths is likely higher than the amount that reach the media. This problem is made worse by irresponsible news coverage which presents these murders as the sympathetic acts of loving and desperate parents, by a justice system which often gives a lighter sentence to a parent who kills a disabled child, and by the dangerous cultural prejudice that says a disabled life is not worth living.

Media coverage and public discourse about disability filicides frequently justifies them as “understandable” and sometimes “merciful”, rather than appropriately condemning the crimes and those who commit them. If the parent or caregiver stands trial, they are given sympathy and comparatively lighter sentences, if they are sentenced at all. The victims are disregarded, blamed for their own murder at the hands of people they should have been able to trust, and ultimately forgotten. And then the cycle repeats.

But it doesn’t have to.

For the last six years, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, the American Association of People with Disabilities, and other disability rights organisations worldwide have come together to send a clear message that disability is not a justification for violence. We read the victims’ names, see their photographs, and gather what information we can about their lives.

We hold the Day of Mourning vigils to draw attention to the violent injustice faced by disabled people, to commemorate the lives of victims of filicide, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities.

Find your local vigil site here: Day of Mourning Vigil Sites

View the online Disability Memorial here: Disability Memorial

NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US
 

QUEERCRIP COMMUNITY + ARCHER @ THE RED RATTLER

Archer Magazine 9

[image description: the cover of Archer Magazine’s Issue 9, depicting Abbey Mag, a beautiful black fat femme looking over their shoulder, wearing gold eyeshadow, pink lipstick, pink heart-shaped earrings and a pink faux fur shrug.]

I wrote an article for Archer Magazine Issue #9 about finding queercrip family and community. You can preview the issue here, or buy it here.

I’ll be reading an excerpt at the launch party, Wednesday 24 January at 6:30pm, at the Red Rattler Theatre, Marrickville. You can buy tickets here.

Join us for the launch of Archer Magazine #9 in SYDNEY!

A very special launch party to celebrate Issue #9: Family, and also celebrating Archer Magazine founder Amy Middleton’s last issue as editor before taking maternity leave.

$5 Ticket price covers cost of the event including venue hire, performers, speakers, and AUSLAN interpreters
$10 Ticket price covers event costs plus a small donation to Archer Magazine
$20 Ticket price covers event costs plus a copy of Archer Magazine #9 at the discounted launch price of $15 (magazine to be collected at the launch)

–Issue #9: Family–
Polyamory, infidelity, HIV and gay men, trans kids, fat femme visibility. We don’t mean the traditional kind of family, we mean the most important kind.

Come celebrate, connect with the community, grab a copy of the magazine and have a dance.

Venue: Red Rattler Theatre, 6 Faversham St, Marrickville.
The Red Rattler is a community run, accessible theatre space. Venue is wheelchair accessible, bathrooms are gender neutral. The event will be AUSLAN interpreted by Amanda Galea, with simple (no flashing/strobe) lighting, and quiet/dark spaces available. There will be breaks between each speaker for a chance to digest, and process. Any other accessibility needs, please contact Lucy, lucy@archermagazine.com.au

We acknowledge our event will take place on stolen land from the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to Indigenous elders past, present and future. Sovereignty was never ceded.

CRIPS AGAINST THE CAMPS

“crips against the camps” in red block capitals, “rally for manus refugees” in smaller white block capitals, on a black background

On Friday the 17th of November, the University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective held a protest outside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office, condemning the current refugee crisis and demanding the immediate evacuation of Manus Island.

We also delivered a statement & list of demands, which you can read below, or download as a word document here: University of Sydney Disabilities and Carers Collective Statement and List of Demands. You can also read it at the Disabilities & Carers Collective’s Facebook page here.

#EvacuateManus #CripsAgainstTheCamps

Crips Against The Camps protest

[image: eight young activists from the University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective & Sydney Grassroots with their crossed arms raised at a protest outside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office in Edgecliff. One is a wheelchair user, one has a purple cane, & one has a sight cane. There is a megaphone on the ground. Two of the activists (myself and my mate charlie) are repping Annie Segarra’s excellent THE FUTURE IS ACCESSIBLE shirts.]

University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective Statement in Solidarity With Manus Island Refugees & Condemning the Ongoing Refugee Crisis

The University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective acknowledges:

  1. (i) That Australia is a racist settler state built on colonial violence;
    (ii) that the founders of “Australia” also came here on boats and without permission;
    (iii) that sovereignty was never ceded and there is no treaty with our Indigenous peoples;
    (iv) that the Aboriginal Provisional Government and the Indigenous Social Justice Association have stated that asylum seekers are welcome on Aboriginal lands in Australia;
    (v) and that the false Australian government consequently has no right to refuse entry to refugees.
  1. (i) That the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which Australia ratified in 1954, defines a refugee as someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion;
    (ii) that 90% of asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat have been found to be legitimate refugees under the UN Convention, even though the terms of the Convention itself are limited;
    (iii) that the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Control’s insistence on referring to legitimate refugees as “illegal maritime arrivals” and “immigration detention detainees” is dehumanising and disingenuous.
  1. (i) That according to Australia’s ratification of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, this government has an obligation to provide aid to refugees fleeing persecution, regardless of whether Australia has processed their claim or recognised their refugee status;
    (ii) that the Convention must be applied without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, country of origin, sex, age, disability, sexuality, or other prohibited grounds of discrimination;
    (iii) that the Convention recognises that refugees are often forced to breach immigration rules and should not be penalised for entering or staying illegally, nor should their freedom of movement be restricted, and that prohibited penalties include charges of immigration or criminal offences relating to the seeking of asylum, or arbitrary detainment purely on the basis of seeking asylum;
    (iv) that the Convention stipulates that no one shall expel or return (“refoule”) a refugee against their will, in any manner whatsoever, to a territory where they fear threats to life or freedom;
    (v) that under the Convention refugees have rights including the right to access to the courts, to primary education, to work, and the provision for documentation, including a refugee travel document in passport form;
    (vi) and that according to the Convention Australia is currently failing its obligations to refugees.
  1. (i) That Nauru and Manus Island are deeply harmful environments;
    (ii) that refugees on Nauru and Manus and in onshore detention centres experience a disproportionate prevalence of PTSD, suicidal ideation, and self-harm, as a direct result of their retraumatising surroundings;
    (iii) that the Australian government has placed refugees in environments that have caused them to develop mental, emotional, and physical disabilities arising out of trauma and neglect;
    (iv) that the Australian government has consequently failed to provide adequate healthcare to refugees.
  1. (i) That forcible institutionalisation of marginalised peoples is detrimental to health, happiness, freedom, and autonomy;
    (ii) that the forcible institutionalisation of disabled people is not so different to the forcible institutionalisation of refugees, and in both instances leads to further traumatisation, abuse, and neglect;
    (iii) and that disabled people in our Collective and the refugees on Manus, Nauru, and in onshore detention, many of whom are disabled themselves, share a common struggle.
  1. (i) That potential healthcare costs of refugees and asylum seekers are not a reason to deny them aid;
    (ii) that the above argument is a deeply eugenicist position and one that is predicated on the assumption that the worth of a human life can be determined by how much a person costs the state;
    (iii) that the above argument perpetuates harmful narratives around health and healthcare that are deeply dangerous to disabled people;
    (iv) that the above argument violates the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees’ protections against discrimination on the basis of disability;
    (v) that refugee lives have worth regardless of how expensive their medical bills are;
    (vi) that it is a community’s responsibility to care for each other;
    (vii) and that refugees are part of our community.
  1. (i) That Australia has a responsibility to the refugees placed on Manus Island and subsequently abandoned;
    (ii) that the “alternative accommodations” provided to the abandoned refugees on Manus are not safe or adequate;
    (iii) that the refugees on Manus have a reasonable fear of persecution and violence if they continue to stay in Papua New Guinea;
    (iv) that Papua New Guinea’s immigration department and chief of police have issued statements disavowing responsibility for the Manus refugees and have called on Australia to fulfil its legal obligations;
    (v) that to place refugees in the harmful conditions on Manus was a human rights violation to begin with, and that to abandon them there is not a solution to the harm of offshore detention processing, but rather a compounding of the violence and mistreatment directed towards refugees applying to Australia for aid in the face of persecution.

Consequently, the The University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective demands:

  1. That the Australian government evacuate the refugees and asylum seekers presently on Manus Island, close the detention centre on Nauru for good, and bring all the refugees and asylum seekers to the place of their choosing, whether that be Australia or New Zealand;
  2. That all mandatory detainment of refugees and asylum seekers should cease immediately;
  3. That all refugees and asylum seekers should be released into the community, and be given justice, freedom, legal and medical aid, and proper humanitarian support without delay;
  4. That Peter Dutton, the current Immigration Minister, be sacked, for gross dereliction of duty, for perpetuating harmful misinformation about refugees, and for participating in a system that enacted dire human rights abuses;
  5. That all future legislative approaches to refugees and asylum seekers, in both the government and the non-government sectors, across local, regional, national, and international levels, be led by consultation with the refugee community and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  6. That specific laws be implemented prohibiting the mandatory detention of refugees and asylum seekers;
  7. That the Australian government fulfil its obligations to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, including providing refugees with freedom, settlement, and humanitarian resources regardless of the way in which they came here;
  8. That the Australian government implement strategies for proper humanitarian aid with regard to refugees and asylum seekers travelling to Australia in dangerous conditions, including maritime rescue operations;
  9. That refugees and asylum seekers should be reunited with their families in cases where they have been involuntarily separated;
  10. That the Australian government adopt policies of accountability and repatriation, including acknowledging the torture and abuse that has been enacted under the auspices of the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Control, and making amends to those who have been directly or indirectly harmed as a result of the traumatising system of mandatory detention, the provision of appropriate healthcare and community support, and that the refugees and asylum seekers who have been harmed as a result of Australian government policies should be compensated along with their families, and that compensation should also be given to families of those who have lost their lives after being deported or forced to self-deport to danger.
F R E E  O U R  P E O P L E !

Ratified by:

The 2017 Disabilities & Carers Collective Office-Bearers
Mollie Galvin, Hannah Makragelidis, and Noa Zulman

The 2018 Disabilities & Carers Collective Office-Bearers
Robin Eames, Mollie Galvin, and Ren Rennie