Parliament should lead by example on disability provision

Press Release – Public Service Association

Parliament should be setting an example to the country’s employers by removing all barriers to Deaf and disabled people’s participation in parliamentary debates, says Nicola Owen, PSA Deaf and Disabled Members’ Network spokesperson. PSA Media Release 16 Feb, 2012

For Immediate Use

Parliament should lead by example on disability provision

Parliament should be setting an example to the country’s employers by removing all barriers to Deaf and disabled people’s participation in parliamentary debates, says Nicola Owen, PSA Deaf and Disabled Members’ Network spokesperson.

She was commenting on Parliament Speaker Lockwood Smith’s refusal to fund notetakers for the country’s first profoundly deaf MP Mojo Mathers.

“The decision to make Mojo pay for her own notetakers sets a dangerous precedent not only for Parliament, but for workers up and down the country,” says Nicola Owen.

“If Parliament can get away with breaching its own obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this will give employers a green light to do the same.”

“This situation will be sadly familiar to Deaf and disabled workers who all too often face delays in getting reasonable accommodations put in place, or are told the support they need is too expensive,” says Nicola Owen.

“Deaf and disabled people face enormous barriers in the workplace because employers take the same approach as the Speaker. Parliament should be setting an example not promoting this kind of discrimination.”

“Mojo wouldn’t need a notetaker if parliamentary debates were captioned, so that all Deaf people, including Deaf MPs, could read proceedings.”

“The PSA Deaf and Disabled Members’ Network offers its full support to Mojo in her efforts to have captioning of Parliament made available to all New Zealanders.”

ENDS

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