Making a TV series to change disability attitudes makes good sense

The Attitude Foundation is seeking to change mainstream attitudes towards people with disability, particularly the way that people with disability are portrayed in the media.  One of our key strategies is to make a television series featuring people with disabilities telling their own stories. Attitude Foundation CEO Alex Varley explains the thinking behind the strategy and why it is a good approach.


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As cards & mobiles replace cash, it’s even more important to consider payment methods that are accessible to all

Guest blogger : Steve Price, Senior Manager Everyday Banking, ANZ

Timing is everything in business, and so it was when our team at ANZ introduced new accessible features on debit cards in late 2016.  

We didn’t initially set out to design an accessible card.  An industry program to upgrade the eftpos payment system had triggered the need to replace our existing debit cards, introducing the security and convenience of contactless payments on these cards.  Tactile_ANZ_access_card.jpg

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Award for ANZ and Attitude's winning partnership!

In an Australia where almost one in five citizens have a disability, it is imperative that government and industry work with the disability sector towards a more inclusive future.  ANZ understands that by listening to the disability community, they are better placed to develop highly accessible products and services as well as workplaces for their people. 

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3 October 2016, United Nations, Geneva

* A shortened version of the following speech was delivered by Catia Malaquias at the Social Forum 2016 – Side Event, held by the United Nations Council for Human Rights on 3 October at the Palais Des Nations in Geneva.

I am a director of Starting with Julius and the Attitude Foundation – two Australian organisations seeking to change attitudes to disability through media initiatives.  I am also a director of Down Syndrome Australia.

However, today I speak as a co-founder of Gadim – an international platform for promoting the greater and better portrayal of disability in the media. When I first met Patricia Almeida here in Geneva in April 2015, at the Day of General Discussion on inclusive education, we discussed the need for an international alliance for inclusive media – driven by Patricia’s boundless enthusiasm and the expertise of Beth Haller, Professor of Journalism and New Media of Towson University, Maryland USA, we are now back here launching Gadim as a reality.

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Art Not Reflecting Life

People with disabilities are significantly under-represented on Australian TV.  “Seeing Ourselves”, a five-year report into diversity in Australian TV drama, released by Screen Australia, highlights this problem according to the Attitude Foundation. 

"Only 4% of main characters had an identified disability, compared to 18% of us in the population," said Graeme Innes AM, Foundation Chair. "This is unacceptable if we are to play an equal role in Australian society," he said. 

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Introduction to ‘Finding A Way’, the enthralling and uplifting memoir from Graeme Innes

It had been raining steadily for four days, and the question of whether the fete would go ahead on Saturday was constantly up for discussion at the family dinner table. I was about 12, and very excited about the event taking place in the hospital grounds where we lived, as Dad was the CEO. I was the strongest proponent of going ahead, whatever the weather.

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A Milestone for Attitude!

This week Graeme Innes announced the completion of the Attitude Foundation’s business case and began to engage production companies to partner with the foundation to change mainstream attitudes about disability so that people with disability are included in all aspects of life.

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Powering Inclusion Through Media: Message at the UN


* The following speech was delivered by Catia Malaquias on World Down Syndrome Day, 21 March 2016, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

“Good afternoon and thank you for the introduction.

I am also the proud mum of 3 young children, 8 year-old Laura who has come from Australia with me, 6 year-old Julius, who has Down syndrome, and 4 year-old Drea.

It’s an honour to speak to you today, but before beginning I would like to acknowledge all the self-advocates who have spoken – because it is people with Down syndrome who hold the greatest power to shift attitudes and the discriminatory burden of history.

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Small Business as an Exoskeleton

9 February 2016 


Guest blogger: Simon J Green 


An exoskeleton is a powered suit, a type of robotic skeleton that covers the wearer and enhances their strength. Imagine an arm encased in strong material, with powered joints at the elbow and wrist. When the user grabs a container that weighs 25 kilograms, the strength and support of the exoskeletal arm allows the user to lift it like it weighed only 1 kg. Imagine a pair of hollow robotic legs, strapped around a person who lost use of their own lower body. The user decides they want to walk, and the legs read the brain signals saying “I want to walk” through faint echoes detected in the skin. The exoskeleton engages and the user walks.

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Supporting small business to change the employment landscape

22 January 2016

Guest blogger: Rosie Donald

My name is Rosie Donald, I’m 28, a cruelty free make-up artist, and YouTube beauty vlogger (video blogger) from Sydney.

I must first note that I choose not to use the word ‘disability’. I don't consider myself as ‘disabled’ nor should anyone else. I believe avoiding this term is the first step in breaking down the barriers and the stigma surrounding people with various ‘life difficulties’ as I prefer to say.

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