The Fifth Estate
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‘I have never accepted the concept of “lifters” and “leaners”’, Graeme Innes has said. ‘We all move from one role to the other dozens of times a day.’
Innes made this remark during a blistering National Press Club speech in 2014, as the outgoing federal disability discrimination commissioner. The notion of ‘lifters’ and ‘leaners’ entered the Australian political lexicon via former Treasurer Joe Hockey, but it’s an old concept, and one that Innes has fought against for much of his life.
Born blind, Innes was determined from an early age to pursue a fulfilling and demanding career. His new book, Finding a Way, describes his early life as well as the highs and lows of that career – as a lawyer, mediator, company director and commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, working on issues relating to race, disability and same-sex discrimination.
In conversation with Sally Warhaft, Innes will reflect on his personal and professional achievements and discuss the state of disability policy in Australia today. What’s the future of the National Disability Insurance Scheme? And is our society getting better at understanding the potential, as well as the needs, of people with disabilities?
Note: this event will be Auslan interpreted.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Graeme Innes is a lawyer, mediator and company director. He has been a human rights practitioner for more than 30 years.
Graeme was a Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission for almost nine years, responsible for issues relating to disability, race and human rights. In this role he led work on issues including the ratification by Australia of a UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities, the Same Sex Same Entitlements inquiry, and three inspections of Australia's immigration detention centres.
He is currently the chair of the Attitude Australia Foundation, a startup aimed at using media to change attitudes towards Australians with disabilities. His memoir, Finding A Way, was published in 2016 by UQP.
Our long-running current affairs series, The Fifth Estate, is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre programme. With our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft at the helm, it's a series of in-depth conversations with guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's rigorous long-form interviewing at its best.
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