Promises Promises: Disability and terms of inclusion
1 Jan 2000
The past quarter century has seen the Australian community and its governments commit to a full and equal citizenship for disabled people. Has the promise been fulfilled? How effective have these changes been? Mike Clear focuses on NSW to find answers and engage their meanings personally and socially. He brings together research, analysis and the insights of disabled writers in a detailed and critical study, structured around three Parts: personal dialogues that provide sensitive insights into personal experiences and the nature of a disabling society; chapters describing and critically appraising the policy and legislative landscape; and four critical perspectives on key relevant social issues: access, telecommunications, cultural representation and the politics of care. He finds there have been important gains, based largely on human rights initiatives and the efforts and skill of disabled people themselves. However, the inclusion of disabled people is carefully managed by governments. It is 'turned on' and 'turned off' as ideology and policy priorities dictate. Do these gains reflect a promise kept? Not while the systemic alienation of people who have impairment and often, if less directly, of their associates continues. And not, as this book reveals, whilst Australian economic, social and cultural systems remain so fundamentally unchanged.