It has been an incredibly tough year for disability justice in Australia with the recent release of the final report of the Disability Royal Commission and the relative dearth of consideration for disabled tertiary students in Labor’s flagship Universities Accords. At the same time, it’s also been a year when disability has been thrust into the spotlight, at the University and across the nation. It feels like finally disability matters are getting some of the attention they deserve.
The SRC Disabilities Collective and SUPRA Disability and Inclusion Network have been working hard with the opening of the disability space at the end of this year bringing a lot of hope for the future of the collective and network, and building a large and diverse generation of disabled activists and a growing disabled community on campus. Disability Inclusion Week 2023 was the best we’ve seen yet, and we’re super proud to bring you our first jointly funded and produced Disabled Honi.
Plus, we now have the Disabilities Community Room following years of often unsung work from past Disabilities office bearers from our organisations.
We thank our amazing contributors for their tireless work, thought and care for the edition. There are many articles to highlight but we think that you will enjoy Lisa Gronich and Sandra Kallarakkal’s investigation into disability inclusion at our campus, Jade Barclay’s exposition of what genuinely inclusive research methodology looks like, and Theodore Tsolakis’ explainer on person-first versus identity-first language to get you thinking about disability pride. Suhaila Mahafza’s opinion on portrayal of neurodiversity in ‘Love on the Spectrum’ is also worth a stopover in your journey through the edition.
Activism does not stop when the year comes to an end. The dire straits facing Dr Niko Tiliopoulos’ employment is an example of the ableism that disabled students and staff still face at the oldest university in the country. There is much more to come in the coming year with the Disabilities Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) set to be reviewed in the future, the need for tactile routes and genuinely inclusive curriculum that does not see disabled students as a burden or afterthought.
Through leveraging our collective strength, we can go one step further towards ending the isolationism of the neoliberal university experience and attain justice, not only for disabled students but for all marginalised peoples.