Kelly in the Media

Kelly Vincent – Vision Australia Interview on the Dignity Party Name Change

On Wednesday 14 December, Dignity Party MLC Kelly Vincent was interviewed on radio Station Vision Australia to discuss the Dignity Party name change, how the media portrays of people with disabilities and how to cope during the holiday period. Here is the transcript and audio from the interview

Pam Green: Time now to welcome to 5RPH, Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent. Hey Kelly.

Kelly Vincent: Hey Pam.

Pam Green: Well you’re having a name change at the moment to the Dignity Party, can you tell us a bit about why this decision to change was made?

Kelly Vincent: Basically the decision to move away from the Dignity for Disability Party toward Dignity Party was really to capture all of the work that we already do which of course does include disability rights work and that will always be our focus, a great focus for us.

But we wanted to find a name that in captured all of the work that we also do which includes many other areas of human rights and we will always have and will continue to stand up for anyone who is disadvantaged or marginalised whether that be because of disability, age, race and cultural differences, gender and so on. So we just wanted to find a name that really speaks to that work that we already to do for everyone who is marginalised or disadvantaged in this state and we will continue to do that.

Pam Green: I’ve been reading online about a recent issue where female twins with autism were portrayed in the media in a way that has caused some controversy, can you tell us a bit about this?

Kelly Vincent: Yes, this is a recent story run by the ABC where some parents are talking about some of the challenges they face while raising two adult daughters with autism. And unfortunately the way that the story was portrayed and some of the language used really in my mind was not helpful to say the least and I really think it continued the pity party around people with disabilities.

And it would have been great, I think, to see a more balanced story, which yes acknowledges the many challenges and barriers that people with disabilities and particularly family carers of some adult children with disabilities do face – we would never deny that. But it would have been great to see a more balanced story, perhaps talking about what people with disabilities can achieve in terms of independence and the right supports in particularly for their families or parents and where to find those supports are available.

So it might have been great to see more focus on some of the great changes that are coming for example under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and paint more of a picture that people with disabilities can achieve a lot more with the right supports around us. In fact, in most cases the disability in and of itself is not the issue, the issue is the barriers that are erected as a result of that disability. So I think, you know rather than focusing on some very personal things including pictures of the young women half naked and talking about their menstrual cycle for example – it would have been great to hear a more balanced story.

And unfortunately the ABC is not unique in this regard, the media certainly – generally has some issues about how it portrays people with disabilities. So we will certainly continue to lobby for more balanced reporting around disability stories and make sure that people with disabilities are always as much as possible shown in a position of independence and strength and that we really just need the right supports including supports of attitude around us.

Pam Green: And on another note, we’re heading into the Christmas period, which is such a busy time for many of us but are there issues for some people that we should be aware of during this time?

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely. For many of us the biggest thing on our minds is getting ready in terms of getting our shopping done, getting the home ready to have the family over but many other people unfortunately experience isolation, perhaps poor mental health around the Christmas period.

Maybe they are without family and feeling very stressed. So it’s important to remember that if you don’t have family or friends around you at this time there are some other services to turn to if you’re feeling that you do need help and I would certainly recommend Lifeline which for those of your listeners that don’t know is a confidential telephone counselling service although they do have an online chat service available if you prefer to express yourself in writing or if that’s more accessible to you. But their phone number is 131 114. I’ve certainly used Lifelines counselling services a number of times myself and I would always recommend them to anyone who is feeling lonely or isolated over the Christmas period or any time of the year.

It’s important to remember that whether it is through family or friends or in other services – there’s always help out there.

Pam Green: As always thanks so much for your time today Kelly and Merry Christmas.

Kelly Vincent: Same to you and your listeners Pam, I hope it’s a great season for everyone.