WDV eNewsletter
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WDV Updates


Image of CathWe are excited to have Cath McNamara join us at Women with Disabilities Victoria. Cath joined us last week and will be working 5 days a fortnight. Like Jane, Cath will be running Enabling Women Leadership Programs around the state and is already booked in to run one in Sale, Gippsland in October this year.
Cath brings more than 30 years of experience working in the disability sector working in disability service and advocacy organisations and as a consultant.
She also has personal experience of the issues affecting people with disabilities and their families both through her own hearing impairment and life with her husband, Rob McNamara. She lived with Rob from 1980 until his death in 1996. Rob was a well known disability activist. He had high support needs and used a range of community support services to enable him to live and work in the community. In the 1980s Rob and Cath were involved in the development of consumer-controlled attendant support and the campaign to establish attendant support as a funded service.
Cath has a strong community development focus and is passionate about people with disability having access to ordinary life in the community and working to ensure that their rights are upheld.
She is a strong believer in people’s right to control their own lives and to speak up about the issues that affect them. This is what particularly appealed to her about working with Women with Disabilities Victoria.
She is looking forward to meeting and working with women with disability around Victoria and building partnerships with organisations and community workers who can work with us to increase the leadership opportunities for women with disability. 


Reminder: Brenda Gabe Award - deadline extended until September 15th!

Image of Tricia Malowney and Helen Sykes

Do you know a woman with a disability (or a group of women with disabilities) who have inspired you, or provided and enhanced opportunities for women with disabilities to participate in a safer and more inclusive community in some way?

Women with Disabilities Victoria is proud to offer the Brenda Gabe Leadership Award again this year.

This award recognises and celebrates the contribution that women with disabilities make to improve the status of women with disabilities.

A secondary focus is their contribution to their local and/or wider community.

  • Individual women being nominated for this award must have a disability and be a resident of Victoria.
  • Groups nominated for this award must have a majority membership of women with disabilities and be residents of Victoria. 
Selection Criteria:
The winner will be selected based on the following criteria;
  • Key selection criterion The contribution the woman with a disability or group has made to improve the individual or group status of women with disabilities.
  • Secondary selection criterion The contribution the woman with a disability or group has made to their local and/or the wider community.
Nominators are welcome to represent their nominees from last year. Their nominations will be viewed favourably.

We encourage women from diverse backgrounds and/or life experiences to be nominated.

The winner of the award receives $2000 toward a capacity building project or professional development. 
This award would not be possible without the generous support of Dr Helen Sykes the Director of Future Leaders.
For a nomination form or details on the selection process please download the forms below
or contact:
Jane Oldfield 
Partnership and Leadership Development
Women with Disabilities Victoria  
9286 7807 or
Brenda Gabe Award - Nomination Form 2014
Brenda Gabe Brochure 2014



No More Deaths - 2014 Victorian election campaign

No more deaths logo

Women with Disabilities Victoria joins Victoria’s leading family violence organisations to put family violence at the top of the 2014 state election agenda. The No More Deaths campaign was launched on Monday, August 25. The campaign was launched with a memorial to the women and children killed through family violence this year, with 29 red roses and eight white rosebuds laid on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne.

Our alliance is calling on the state’s political parties to commit to wide-ranging policies across housing, justice, police, disability, health, education and other portfolios to keep women and children safe in Victoria.

"Our hearts have been torn by the horrific violence we see devastating the lives of everyday Victorians,"
said Fiona McCormack, Chief Executive Officer of Domestic Violence Victoria.
"Sometimes the issue can seem so big and complex that we despair about being able to do anything effective. But the reality is we can absolutely make a difference."

The organisations have called on the state’s political parties to commit to wide-ranging policies across housing, justice, police, health, education and other portfolios and has put forward 25 Priority Actions to promote the safety of women and children safe in Victoria. The event attracted strong media attention and was attended by representatives of each of the major parties. The state election will be held on the 29th November.

The No More Deaths election platform outlines 25 priority actions to:
  • Keep women and children safe and housed.
  • Make the justice system safe and supportive.
  • Hold violent perpetrators to account.
  • Break down the service silos that endanger women and children.
  • Prevent violence against women and children.
“Throughout the election campaign we will assess commitments on family violence for how they compare to other public safety and justice promises,” Ms McCormack said.

What we don’t want are promises of quick fixes or a focus on just one part of the problem.
Our political leaders have to stand up and be counted, to see where failure by governments to act – on safe housing, in the courts, on the status of women and across other areas of policy and practice – puts women and children at risk of family violence.
We are not just asking for money. We are asking for leadership and accountability"

Media Release
MEDIA RELEASE: Stopping family violence must be state election priority 25/08/14 (PDF | 2.4MB)

Key Asks
KEY ASKS: No More Deaths campaign (PDF | 1MB)

Campaign Fact Sheets
(All Fact Sheets are approximately 1MB PDF)
FACT SHEET 1: Keep women and children safe and housed
FACT SHEET 2: Make the justice system safe and supportive
FACT SHEET 3: Hold violent perpetrators to account
FACT SHEET 4: Break down the system silos that endanger women and children
FACT SHEET 5: Preventing violence against women and children



Women's Health East logo

Save the date! Women's Health East Annual Meeting - "Women in Leadership"

Wednesday 22nd October 2014, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Where: 125 George Street, Doncaster East, VIC 3109
More details to follow…



FREE Introduction Course to Social Media for Women Over 60 Years

11am - 1pm Thursdays 11 September to 16 October

WIRE is running a free 6-week introductory social media course for women over 60 years.
  • Learn at your own pace (max. 6 participants)
  • Stay connected to friends & family
  • Overcome your fears of social media
  • Learn in a friendly, supportive environment
  • Use Facebook, Skype, Smilebox!

Venue: WIRE 372 Spencer Street, West Melbourne Map
Bookings are essential as places are limited.  For bookings or enquiries, call 9348 9416 (Press 2) or email funded by the City of Melbourne


Recognise and respond to family violence

This introductory course is for workers with no specific family violence work/experience. It covers the effects of family violence on adults and children, provides a brief overview of legal responses, resources and referrals, and explores ways of asking about violence and responding to disclosures. Includes risk assessment and safety planning based on CRAF framework.
To register:
When?        Wednesday 18th September 2014
Where?       Melbourne CBD (venue and other details will be forwarded with confirmation once you register)
Time?          9.30am – 4.30pm


Human Rights 

New ramps to make Frankston line more accessible

·        Permanent ramps mean train driver assistance no longer required
·        Signage to show the first door of the first carriage is reserved for people using mobility aids
·        Napthine Government making public transport more accessible

Every platform on the Frankston line will soon be fitted with new ramps enabling people with mobility aids to board trains independently and more easily, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today.
In conjunction with this great initiative, Mr Mulder announced that ‘no-cyclist’ signs will be painted on the platform to prevent cyclists boarding at the first door of the first carriage.

“This great idea came about when Patterson Lakes resident Bill Walstab attended Kingston Cabinet on 18 November 2013. Mr Walstab raised the issue of bikes crowding the first carriage and leaving no space for people with mobility aids to board,” Mr Mulder said.

“It’s great that the Victorian Coalition Government listened to Mr Walstab and, as a result, PTV have come up with this innovative and fantastic solution.”

Funded as part of the $115 million Bayside Rail Project, the $4.5 million initiative to build ramps will allow wheelchair and other mobility aid users to enter the first door of the first carriage of trains unassisted, giving them greater independence.

“The new ramps will provide a terrific boost to the independence and accessibility of people in the community with special needs,” Mr Mulder said.

“People using wheelchairs and motorised scooters will be able to enter and leave the first carriage of trains easily and safely without needing the assistance of a train driver.

“The ramps have a rubberised ‘finger’ that neatly closes the gap between the platform and the train carriage.

Mr Mulder was joined by Member for Carrum, Donna Bauer, and Mr Walstab to inspect the first ramp to be installed at Carrum station.

“The ramps will give mobility aid users greater freedom and confidence to travel on public transport without feeling like they are holding up hundreds of people while they board or alight,” Mr Walstab said.

Ms Bauer said the wheelchair stencil and signage would be progressively rolled out to other lines on the metropolitan and regional network.

“This roll out will help make sure that the first carriage is reserved for people who really need it,” Ms Bauer said.

“The boarding ramps will also assist with the punctual running of trains, as drivers will less often need to exit the cabin to assist passengers.

“This innovation builds on the Napthine Government’s $115 million transformation of the Frankston line that will improve its accessibility, reliability, safety and amenity.”

Minister for Disability Services and Reform Mary Wooldridge said the innovative new boarding ramps were in line with the intent of the Victorian State Disability Plan 2013-16 which focuses on improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.

“The work on the Frankston line demonstrates the Napthine Government's commitment to working in a more effective way to deliver an inclusive Victorian society,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Mr Mulder said the Bayside Rail project was on track for existing X-Trapolis trains to run in coming months and eight new X-Trapolis trains to operate by late 2015.

“A host of improvements to the safety, amenity and accessibility of stations along the line have already been completed, with all station works on track for completion by the end of 2014,” Mr Mulder said.

Mr Mulder also welcomed the beginning of Rail Safety Week starting today and running until 17 August.

“Rail Safety Week will raise awareness and knowledge about the potentially devastating consequences of not being cautious and not obeying rules around the train and tram network,” Mr Mulder said.

Media release: $4 million boost for people needing aids and equipment

 Monday 1 September 2014

Napthine Government investing an additional $4 million this year in Victorian Aids and Equipment Program.

Funding will provide direct relief and support to over 2,000 Victorians, including about 480 children.

The Napthine Government building a more inclusive and accessible Victoria

 An additional 2,000 people with a disability will receive immediate support to purchase aids and equipment as a result of a $4 million funding boost from the Victorian Coalition Government.

Announcing the funding today, Minister for Disability Services and Reform, Mary Wooldridge said approximately 32,000 people across Victoria this year will receive funding to purchase aids and equipment.

“This funding will make a fundamental difference for people with a disability who need help to buy things such as wheelchairs and walking aids, or to make adjustments to their home or vehicle,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“Aids and equipment support can mean home modifications to help people to live independently, mobility equipment to enable them to enjoy their communities, or medical devices that make daily activities more accessible.

“For example, one older couple has used an Aids and Equipment grant to modify their bathtub so that they can continue to live at home without in-home care attendants. This makes all the difference in terms of privacy, dignity, and quality of life.”

Ms Wooldridge said the investment is in addition to the $1.3 million funding boost committed in the 2014-15 Victorian State Budget for aids and equipment, bringing the Napthine Government’s total additional investment in the program to $5.3 million this year.

The Victorian statewide Aids and Equipment Program is administered by Ballarat Health Services, with the goal of providing people with a permanent or long-term disability with subsidised aids and equipment to enhance their independence and facilitate their participation in the community.

For more information visit


National Peak Disability and Advocacy Organisations Vote NO to reject the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) Payment Scheme Bill 2014.

The Federal and High Courts of Australia have determined that BSWAT discriminates against people with intellectual disability. Thousands of people with intellectual disability who work in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) have been paid less than they would have earned if their wages had been determined using a fair assessment tool.

The Payment Scheme outlined in the Bill:
• does not accept liability for discrimination or lost wages;
• offers a payment instead of compensation;
• releases the Commonwealth and ADEs from past and future liability;
• provides for the appointment of substitute decision makers, nominees, without adequate safeguards; and,
• is based on a false assertion that the Payment Scheme will protect the jobs of workers with intellectual disability.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights said the scheme does not contain the requisite elements of an effective remedy to the unlawful discrimination found to have taken place.

If the Bill is passed:
People with intellectual disability will have to decide whether to accept a payment or support a class action for compensation. The Commonwealth will likely enjoy significantly reduced liability for compensation claims related to BSWAT.

If the Bill is NOT passed:
People with intellectual disability will be part of a representative action against the Commonwealth for compensation for discrimination and lost wages. ADEs are not a target of this action and do not need to be protected from liability to safeguard jobs.

Regardless of this Bill, people with intellectual disability will retain their jobs and will continue to experience the same discrimination and lost wages until use of BSWAT is abolished.
The Commonwealth should:
• admit liability for discrimination and lost wages caused by BSWAT;
• negotiate a compensation settlement for workers with intellectual disability who experienced discrimination and lost wages as a result of BSWAT;
• commit to abolishing BSWAT and transition to the Supported Wages
System (SWS); and,
• consult with people with disability and their representative organisations on the best way to proceed with this transition.
This Bill will not provide a remedy for the discrimination experienced by workers with intellectual disability whose wages were assessed using the BSWAT. We strongly encourage you to VOTE AGAINST THE BILL.

Enquiries: Paul Cain, (NCID), 0419 462 928 or Therese Sands (PWDA) 0412 935 128


Health Systems Strengthening Mentor- VAW Tarawa, Kiribati

UNFPA and Australian Volunteers International are teaming up to support VAW health response in Kiribati by recruiting and placing a volunteer for technical support over a 6 month-1 year period.

Kiribati has a well-established, publicly-funded and provided health system administered by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. The system comprises of four hospitals, supported by a primary health care network that consists of 30 health centres and 75 health clinics of varying capacity. The great distance between the islands and the dispersion of the population makes health care delivery difficult. Domestic air and sea transportation are not uniform and can be infrequent.

This position is critical to both ensuring health systems strengthening as well as sound referral for multi-sectoral support for survivors.   The programme in Kiribati will benefit from a global initiative to develop and Essential Services package of health responses to VAW.  National staffs have professional medical training, but lack expertise in addressing VAW.

For more information visit:

Blind Citizens Australia is seeking two passionate individuals who are committed to achieving equity and equality for Australians who are blind or vision impaired, to join our policy and advocacy team.
BCA requires a National Policy Officer (30 hrs/week) and an Advocacy and Policy Officer (28 hrs/week). Both roles are based at the National Office in Melbourne.


National Policy Officer (30hrs/wk)

The National Policy Officer manages the systemic advocacy and policy work undertaken by BCA. This role supports the National Policy and Development Council (NPDC) with the preparation of policy statements, and manages the promotion and implementation of all BCA policies to members, the blindness sector, government and relevant organisations.
The National Policy Officer will manage systemic advocacy campaigns, provide information, develop submissions, contribute to key elements of Government funded projects as directed and develop policy which meets the expressed needs of our membership.
This National Policy Officer PD (Word doc) document will outline the full position description.

Advocacy and Policy Officer (28hrs/wk)

The Advocacy and Policy Officer provides both individual and systemic advocacy support to people who are blind or vision impaired across Australia on issues that relate directly to blindness. Our advocacy work takes into account BCA Policy and relevant State and Federal government legislation.
The Advocacy and Policy Officer will be a member of the small but dynamic BCA Advocacy and Policy team, and will report directly to the Executive Officer.
This Advocacy and Policy Officer PD (Word doc) document will outline the full position description.
For further details refer to or contact Rosemary Boyd, Executive Officer, on(03) 9654 1400. Applications will close at 5:00pm Tuesday 9 September 2014. 

Out and About - Accessible Events

Girls On Film Festival logo

Accessible event: Girls On Film Festival

The Girls On Film Festival (GOFF) is a live inclusive mixtape of film, feminism, parties and panels and runs from 12th September - 14th September at Northcote Town Hall.

GOFF is fan club meets movie marathon meets book group meets feminist salon, and the Festival will be screening feminist movies, throwing parties and hearing from some of Australia’s sharpest minds on the gendered nature of plot, character, promotion and production in film.

Confirmed screenings include Heathers, The Runaways, Ponyo, Whale Rider, T is for Teacher, Exposed, Heavenly Creatures, Nine to Five and the Australian classic, Radiance.

Of the eclectic mix of films, Festival Director Karen Pickering, perhaps best known for her popular monthly feminist salon Cherchez La Femme, says “We don’t think there’s another festival like it - GOFF is furiously feminist, it unashamedly celebrates pop culture new and old, and it’s basically one big party.”

Karen also notes “GOFF is absolutely committed to making this festival as accessible as possible. It was part of our plans from the first day and influenced the venue, program and all our decisions. I've learned a lot about the social model of disability from friends and activists, and I wanted the festival to reflect this."

All sessions are wheelchair accessible. Northcote Town Hall is easily accessible by wheelchair and other mobility aids, and accessible amenities are available onsite.

Three films will be screened with open captions and two will have Auslan interpreted discussions. 

(Please see below for more info)

For full venue accessibility information visit:

Companion Card will be accepted at all sessions and Assistance Dogs are welcome in all areas.

If you have any questions about access, would like a plain text version of the Festival Program or have accessibility requirements that are not listed here please email

Exposed (R18+)
Image of Mat Fraser

Sunday September 14, 6:30pm

Forget everything you know about gender, bodies, performance and entertainment. This kind of burlesque is about pushing boundaries, challenging preconceptions and putting on one hell of a show – this is the final word in outrageous!

Eight exceptionally talented individuals – Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muz, Mat Fraser, World Famous *BOB*, Bambi the Mermaid, Rose Wood, Bunny Love and Tigger! – take to the stage and tell stories about how embodying difference normalised their own constructions of that thing we call identity.

“If you can make the audience laugh and make a political point that fuels your outrage at the same  time, all the better.” – Mat Fraser

Exposed explodes any preconceptions we have about sex and gender. It features performers ranging from statuesque to transgender to people with a disability.

Check your inhibitions at the door, leave your judgements at home and let some of the most progressive entertainers on earth do their job. You won’t be sorry, but you might just be surprised.

Exposed will be introduced by Festival Curator Tara Judah. Tara is a film critic who loves honest stories and a little outrage. Joining Tara after the screening for a conversation about what it means to love and accept who you are is another member of the GOFF gang, our Festival PR expert, Simone Flanagan. Simone has worked on countless film festivals and is a passionate advocate for equality and a strong believer that appearances do not define someone’s worth. (Simone is also WDV's Communications Officer)


The following sessions will be screened with open captions:

For more information visit

Quippings Freaktastic Fringe

Quipping Freaktastic Fringe showcases established and emerging performers with disability in a line-up of talent not to be missed! 

Freaktastic is an innovative, entertaining, sexy and at times provocative show for the festival goer looking for something unashamedly and delightfully different! 

5 acts per night for 5 nights! 


Crips, beautiful freaks, body revolutionaries, non-normative body activists and those with minds who think and see outside the confines of the expected, the boring and the ‘normal’ take to the stage under the Melba Spiegeltent big top over five nights in October to explore what difference/disability means to them.

Quippings: Freaktastic draws attention loudly, proudly, boldly and unashamedly to the history of ‘freaks’ in carnivals or circus 'freak shows'.

Quippings explores the power play of the pornography of disability and asks: who really has the power and what does it mean to have freak pride?

MC disability and queer activist, writer and controversial spoken word artist Jax Jacki Brown heads freaktastic line up:

-Stella Young: winner of Best Newcomer at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014; 

-Emma J Hawkins: recently seen in Finucane and Smith's Glory Box and undertaking her 1st solo show 'I am not a unicorn' 

-Andy Jackson: award winning writer and poet

-Bearbrass Asylum Orchestra 

-Carly Findlay: writer, blogger, and appearance activist

-Electric Vixen: emerging spoken word artist 

-Jarrod Marrinon: disability comedian will take you to places you didn't expect to go!

-Monika Dryburgh: nerdy linguaphile 

-Erin Kyan: debonair deviant 

Quippings Freaktastic is directed by acclaimed writer, actor and director Kate Hood. 

When: October 1-5 as part of Melbourne Fringe
SHOW TIMES: 8.15pm, (Wed 7.45pm) (60min)

This event is fully wheelchair accessible.

If you are a person with a disability and have a companion card you can book tickets in over phone 12pm-6pm daily at the Fringe office: 9660 9600 to get your support worker in for free and also this will accessibility info of how many people with disabilities we have each night to be passed on to Circus Oz. 

Director: Kate Hood
Producer: Jax-Jacki Brown
Freaktastic band: The Bearbrass Asylum Orchestra

Get involved, become a member!

“I'm on this path but I've been a bit lost. I felt like I was a solo singer but now I feel like I've got a choir.”  WDV member

What does it mean to become a member of WDV?

Members can contribute to Women with Disabilities Victoria in the following ways:
  • Become involved in one of our leadership programs designed to promote sharing leadership skills.
  • Sharing information with other women through our e-newsletter and email bulletins.
  • Representing women with disabilities on Boards, Committees and forums. These opportunities are circulated to members who have an interest in a particular field.
  • Contributing to government submissions, representations to government and organisations and presentation of conference papers.

There are two types of membership:

Full membership is available to women with disabilities in Victoria. Full membership is free.

Associate membership is open to individuals and/or organisations supportive of the aims of Women with Disabilities Victoria and enables exchange of knowledge, and participation with Women with Disabilities Victoria and its members. Associate membership is $20 for individuals and $50 for organisations (this includes GST).
For more information about membership, visit our website or email
The purpose of this e-News is to inform our members, staff and associates about opportunities to advance Women with Disabilities Victoria’s goals. Women with Disabilities Victoria works to address priority issues for women with disabilities in Victoria. These issues include violence; access to health services; reproductive rights and parenting, and; access to employment. We welcome and encourage your feedback and contributions to
Copyright © 2014 Women with Disabilities Victoria, All rights reserved.

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