Uniting Church Moderator Dan Wootton recently wrote to Prime Minister Tony Abbott to express concern over the dismantling of the Disability Discrimination Commissioner position.
Mr Wootton pointed out that since the Commissioner’s role was established in 1993, dignity for people with disabilities had been enhanced, with significantly less discrimination than 20 years ago.
“The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania supports the retention of this role in order to maintain the momentum of enhanced dignity for people with disabilities, and to be a significant legal deterrent for prejudicial attitudes and actions,” he said.
Mr Wootton noted the close ties between the role of the Disability Discrimination Commissioner and the Vic/Tas synod.
The late Elizabeth Hastings was the first person appointed to the Commissioner’s role. She subsequently went on to become Director of Social Justice with the Uniting Church, and was instrumental in developing the Uniting Church’s Disability Action Plan 2000 – 3. Church communities throughout Australia have continued to be at the forefront of advocacy and action for people with disabilities.
“Whilst affirming your government’s commitment to the ongoing support and implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, I am very concerned that the government not act in haste to diminish the key role of Disability Discrimination Commissioner,” Mr Wootton said.