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Promoting inclusion

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This issues paper asked the public to share their views about what an inclusive society looks like, the barriers to inclusion, how we can become a more inclusive society, and how inclusion might prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The issues paper asks 9 questions to help people and organisations to provide responses. 

Issues paper - Promoting inclusion (Auslan)


Promoting inclusion Issues paper


We have released an issues paper on promoting an inclusive society. The full paper is on our website. This video is a summary of the paper. 

People with disability experience barriers, exclusion and segregation in all aspects of life – culturally, economically, politically and socially. 

We want to hear from people with disability, their families, supporters and the wider community:

  • What does inclusion mean for you?
  • What makes an inclusive society?
  • How can we as a society be more inclusive?
  • What are the barriers to an inclusive society?

Barriers to inclusion

People with a disability face barriers to inclusion. This means they can’t take part in society equally to others.

Barriers may impact upon their independence and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Barriers may affect a person with disability throughout their life. They may be worse for people with disability who also experience other forms of disadvantage, such as First Nations people and women.

Barriers to inclusion may come from:

  • negative attitudes – for example, an employer with low expectations of people with disability may not employ someone with disability or make adjustments for them at work.
  • discrimination
  • not recognising or respecting autonomy or independence – for example, a person with disability may not be supported to choose where they live or who they live with.
  • inaccessible environments, public spaces, transport, information and communication – for example, information from a doctor not provided in Auslan
  • Lack of supports in general settings – for example, not allowing a person with disability to have a support person in a criminal trial may make it hard for them to give evidence.

How to respond

At the end of our issues paper, there is a list of questions about these topics. We invite you to respond. You do not have to answer every question. You can respond in any way you like. This might be in writing or by a video recording.

The issues paper and more details are on our website in the Publications section.

More information:

Overview of responses to the Promoting inclusion Issues paper (Auslan)


Overview of responses to the Promoting inclusion Issues paper


In December 2020 we asked people to tell us their ideas, thoughts and opinions on the topic of ‘promoting an inclusive society’ for people with disability.

We collected 73 responses from people about this. We have now published a summary on our website. This is what we were told in the responses.

What makes an inclusive society?

People told us what an inclusive society should be like.

People said an inclusive society should:

  • recognise human rights, where everyone is treated equally and has equal opportunities
  • be co-designed by people with disability, where people with disability are listened to and involved in developing policies and making decisions
  • be fully accessible, including environment, technology, information and communication
  • provide services that are right for people with disability from different backgrounds – including First Nations people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • recognise and fix structures, barriers and attitudes in society that exclude and disempower people with disability
  • promote a sense of belonging, where people with disability feel valued, respected and welcomed.

Barriers to an inclusive society

People told us there are lots of barriers that make it hard for people with disability to be included in society.

People said these barriers come from:

  • laws, policies and practices – for example some laws allow the use of ‘restrictive practices’ like giving someone medication to control their behaviour
  • community attitudes and behaviours – for example when the community thinks people with disability are ‘helpless’
  • excluding or segregating people with disability – for example when a child with disability is bullied at school and left alone in a playground
  • physical and environmental barriers – for example when there is no wheelchair access in a sports stadium
  • lack of access to safe and quality services including health care and mental health services

Proposals for change

We heard about lots of different ways to make society more inclusive for people with disability. Some ways to make a more inclusive society include:

  • ‘Nothing about us without us’ – making sure people with disability are included in planning and developing policies and practices that affect them.
  • Government leadership – such as adopting a bill of rights that protects the rights of people with disability.
  • Changing attitudes and behaviour – such as raising awareness of rights through training that is led by people with disability, and more funding for training.
  • Ending segregation of people with disability in schools, workplaces and housing and including people with disability in the community.
  • Ensuring accessibility – such as by making public transport safer and more accessible by training public transport workers in disability awareness.
  • Providing access to safe and quality services – such as more investment in Aboriginal Community Controlled disability services.
  • Strengthening systems and processes – such as strengthening the role and powers of the Australian Human Rights Commission to end disability discrimination.
  • Tracking Australia’s progress to make society more inclusive through frameworks like the National Disability Strategy.

More information

The full overview of what people told us is on our website. We’ve also published the responses from individuals and organisations.

To find this information, search ‘promoting inclusion’ on our website.