Your Rights and Advocacy

In Australia, the rights of deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people are protected by federal and state laws.

To protect yourself from discrimination because you don’t hear, you can use these laws:

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Federal) 

Disability Discrimination Regulations 1996 (Federal)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Federal)

Australian Human Rights Commission Regulations 1989 (Federal)

Fair Work Act 2009 (Federal)

Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)

Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW)

The law you use will depend on the complaint you want to make and which organisation you take the complaint to. For example if you go to a private school and you want to make a complaint about discrimination, you can only use the Disability Discrimination Act because the Anti-Discrimination Act does not cover private schools.

If you want to know what areas the Anti-Discrimination Act covers click here.

If you want to know what areas the Disability Discrimination Act covers click here.

Do you want to make a complaint?

You can also make complaints about discrimination and unfair treatment using the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There is also some information available in Auslan on the Convention.

If you want to make a formal complaint there are two government organisations which you can contact:

  1. Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
  2. Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB)

When you make a complaint you need to think about which law you are making a complaint under. That will help you decide which organisation to go to make the complaint. AHRC only looks at federal laws and standards while the ADB looks at NSW discrimination laws.

If you want free legal advice and help with making a complaint about disability discrimination you can contact the Australian Centre for Disability Law.  If you need an interpreter, they will provide that for free.  Just let them know that you require an interpreter for a meeting.

Individual Advocacy

When your rights are not being met, you can advocate for change. This is what advocacy means, to make change happen.

Do you need help with access to a service or for your rights to be met? 

If you do, this is called individual advocacy. This is where we support and represent you if you want access to a service or for your rights to be met. We can help by:

  • giving information to you on your rights and responsibilities
  • advocating on your behalf to organisations about their responsibilities to provide access for you
  • informing and educating organisations about their responsibilities to provide access for you

If your issue is complex, we can refer you to organisations who can further help resolve your situation

If you would like help on an issue you can visit one of our offices and meet with our staff. To discuss this further, contact us for more information.