ABC marks International Day of People with Disability

ABC marks International Day of People with Disability

ABC marks International Day of People with Disability, Sunday December 3, again partnering with the Department of Social Services to recognise the 4.4 million Australians living with disability.

The partnership has contributed to the placement of 22 short-term positions within the ABC for people with disability to host and co-host television and radio programs and to have their content featured across ABC websites, radio, social media, television, and ABC iview.

Content highlights will also feature across all ABC platforms until 10 December.

ABC Director, News, Justin Stevens said, “The ABC recognises the importance of showcasing the diverse experiences of all Australians in its storytelling, including Australians living with disability.

“ABC News is committed to featuring the perspectives of Australians living with disability throughout our coverage, not only this month but always.”

ABC also co-hosted the inaugural Disability Leadership Oration with the Disability Leadership Institute at ABC Melbourne on November 21. The oration, featuring respected disability rights lawyer and advocate Natalie Wade as this year’s speaker, airs nationally on 3 December at 5pm AEDT on ABC TV and ABC iview.

“Disability leadership is central to advancing the human rights of disabled people in Australia by having our voices lead the discussion, but also to be active, valued and respected contributors to industry and community life,” she said.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said,“Seeing our communities reflected authentically in the media is so influential. It challenges our thinking and builds empathy which can improve attitudes towards people with disability.

“This partnership also gives people with disability an opportunity to gain meaningful work experience to improve their employment potential in the media industry and beyond.”

Tom O’Neill-Thorne (pictured) was born in the remote town of Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory with a birth defect that affected the development of his legs, hips, and feet. As a three-year-old, Tom remembers watching the opening ceremony of Sydney’s Paralympics and seeing an athlete walking around the stadium on his hands. In that moment, he knew he wanted to be an athlete too.

Tom went on to become a two-time Paralympian, competing in Rio (2016) and Tokyo (2020), and represented Australia at the wheelchair basketball world championship in 2014. He plays professionally for the European league, dividing his time between Madrid and Darwin.

Tom’s story is one of many produced for, by and about people living with disability to be broadcast across the ABC to mark International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD).

Landline shares the story of paraplegic Katherine Reed who is raising two children, miniature goats and cattle with her husband while living with a disability on her farm near Launceston in Tasmania. Produced in collaboration with Compass, Comedian Madeleine Stewart delves into the little-known intricacies surrounding marriage, disability, and Centrelink in this video which has already amassed 2.2 million views. Five new episodes of Play School Story Time with guests Nas Campanella, Mark Coles Smith, Sam Bloom, Sofya Gollan and Indira Naidoo will air on ABC Kids and ABC iview on 3 December. Each episode has Auslan interpretation in picture and closed captioning and audio description. There will also be a collection of stories on ABC iview that highlight diversity and perspectives from people with disability. This includes a short film starring Dylan Alcott called Head Over Wheels produced by Bus Stop Films, acquired by the ABC and available to watch on ABC iview from 1 December.

On the Make Me Feel Good podcast, Soprano Jordie Howell profiles four choirs comprised of people with disability who are participating in the 2023 Classic Choir, with one conductor using Braille music to conduct her choir. Stories will also be shared on ABC News and across the ABC’s radio networks, including ABC Classic, Radio National, triple j, Radio Australia and ABC Kids Listen, as well as ABC local radio stations across the country. Radio programs are available for playback online after broadcast and transcripts will be available online for people with hearing issues.

The partnership also funds the ABC Regional Storyteller Scholarship, an early-career program for two content makers with lived experience of disability, living in regional Australia.