House debates

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Statements by Members

International Day of People with Disability

1:30 pm

Photo of Jenny MacklinJenny Macklin (Jagajaga, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Families and Payments) Share this | | Hansard source

Today, thousands of Australians celebrate International Day of People with Disability. I want to share the inspirational story of Anna Russ. Anna has cerebral palsy and has limited ability to move her arms. She has always had a passion for art, but her disability meant that her capacity to participate in the creative arts was limited. All this changed when Anna was given access to an iPad at Araluen, a disability support service in my electorate of Jagajaga. For the first time, the artistic expression that had been locked in Anna's mind was unleashed. A flurry of artistic expression poured from Anna's mind onto the digital canvas. Today Anna's paintings are reproduced from the iPad onto metal and sold at galleries across Melbourne. I congratulate Araluen for their Imagining Better program that explores opportunities for people with disability to use technology.

The theme for this year's International Day of People with Disability is Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology. Anna's story provides us with a perfect example of how technology is enabling people with disability to be defined not by their disability but by their skills and their ability to contribute so much to our society. Happy International Day of People with Disability to Anna Russ and to all Australians.