Disability Day 2023

Friday, 27 October 2023 - 12:18pm
Disability Day 2023 artwork by Renay Barker Mulholland

Tune into our 12-hour Disability Day broadcast on Sunday 3 December 7am-7pm

Full program details below.


2023 marked the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO). In a year where this organisation promoted the theme ‘Health For All’, COVID hegemony - the normalisation of widespread infection achieved by those with power through coercive persuasion, to gain our consent and approval - continued across the western world. Despite this, Covid globalist conspiracy theorists aligned with ableist, eugenicist, transphobic and far right extremists, continued to rail against the threat to the “health sovereignty” of settler colonies and other western nation states supposedly posed by the WHO. Some of them, on the streets of Melbourne's CBD.

Meanwhile, in the state of Victoria, the urgency of the need for genuine health and body sovereignty for some of the most vulnerable members of this society was perhaps nowhere more clearly laid out than in the State acknowledgement of harm project recommendations given to the Victorian Government, following The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The project identified 10 types of harm inflicted by the state (and its police) on victims and survivors of the mental health system, including the recognition that Victoria’s system has been, and is both a product and producer of, an ongoing process of colonisation.

Even so, Royal Commissions like this or the national Disability Royal Commission, that point to the tip of the iceberg of horrific impacts on health embedded in colonial administration of healthcare and disability services within a capitalist system, do not capture the complexity and full extent of the poverty, violence, and injustice that poor multiply marginalised disabled people, particularly Black disabled migrant women and LGBTQI+ people on precarious visas, experience by the state and at the hands of fellow residents here.

Community-controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health services, set up by and for their communities, shine as the oldest example on this continent of successful and strong resistance to the health destroying impacts of genocide, colonisation and anti-Black, anti-Indigenous racism in the mainstream health system. Other cultural communities, and LGBTQI communities, work hard to initiate and coordinate health promotion for their own communities too. Still, the corrosive ableism and saneism that harms disabled people within and outside these communities, from birth to death, (and sometimes across continents) is arguably poorly understood by health administrators, policy makers and advocates at this time.

For our 2023 Disability Day broadcast, we’re making space to explore what health and HEALTH SOVEREIGNTY means, holistically and materially, to First Nations disabled people and other disabled individuals, their kin networks and communities, residing on unceded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands. And imagining what genuinely healing healthcare systems that affirm the lives, self knowledge and expertise of disabled people of all ages and backgrounds can look like in the future.

By Pauline Vetuna, 3CR Disability Day content coordinator

Artwork by Renay Barker-Mulholland. Artist statement here.

ID: A digital collage, with Renay, a First Nations woman, laying back on her power wheelchair as the central figure inside a bottle, inside a monolithic rock. On top there is an old, yellowed lightbulb and eyes dotted around the figure. There is a hand on each side of the image, and going vertically down, in black text on tiles the word, Sick and above it a black graphic crown. On the right hand side the same style and the word sovereign, with a black snake above the hand. A bright yellow light hovers just above Renay's solar plexus.

Health Sovereignty Schedule:  7am - 7pm, Sunday 3 December

7am  In the beginning: Aboriginal Health Sovereignty

7.30am  No health without abolition! Deinstitutionalisation with Vanamali Hermans
3CR’s Disability Day Worker Pauline Vetuna interviews organiser, writer, community worker and socialist Mali Hermans about Deinstitutionalisation, Disability Justice and Abolition. Also featuring the voices of self advocates who have survived institutionalisation.

8.30am  Hypervisible, Invisible: Psych abolition and migrant health sovereignty with Hamile Ibrahim

9.30am  Doin' Time: First Nations People, the Criminal Justice System and the Stolen generation. 
Marisa Sposaro is joined by guests:  June Riemer - Deputy Chief Executive Officer, First People's Disability Network; Maryaka Jonkers - Co-vice President of People with Disability; and Ros Sackley - a proud Ngiyampaa/Wiradjuri woman from the central west of NSW who currently resides on the Central Coast.  They discuss the complex issues faced by First Nations people with disability in the criminal justice system, institutional racism and ableism.

10.30am  Breaking the Poverty machine! with Melissa Fisher.

11am  Earth Matters: Dee and Bec respond to the Earth's urgent screaming; the luscious, living system all around us and really try to help. 
Global boiling activists Dee Mould and Bec Horridge met on the ground at the inspirational fireside conversations of the Maule’s Creek coal mine blockade. A decade later they reflect how painful old injuries and life on the unemployment scrap heap can free up time to respond to the  Earths urgent screaming; the  luscious living system all around us and really try to help. Flood survivor Dee explains the resonating benefits of peer to peer trauma counselling by people who have similar difficult experiences.

11.30am Queer Trans Health presented by Iris Lee.
We hear from Farida and Stephanie about some of their experiences navigating their health in this messed-up system, touching on Long Covid, to hospitals to autism, and imagining beyond, where's people's needs are met.
www.change.org/p/antiviral-access-for-long-covid-sufferers,  www.instagram.com/sats_campaign,  www.facebook.com/SATScampaign

12pm  Out of the Pan: Presenter Sally Goldner is joined by Katherine Marshall, CEO of Inclusive Rainbow Voices
They'll be discussing: issues come up at intersection of queer especially trans and bi+ and disabilities; what trauma-informed health care AND trauma informed values/governance/strategy/operations looks like especially for organisations focusing on marginalised communities; and issues for hidden disabilities and/or neurodivergence.  Katherine is a queer, non-binary and disabled and is a passionate supporter of disability arts and culture. They have over a decade of experience working on disability and LGBTIQA+ advocacy, policy, engagement, and community development.  Katherine has worked across Local Government, State Government, not-for-profit and creative industry settings, delivering projects and programs that promote accessibility, inclusion and justice for LGBTIQA+ people with disability.

1pm  Sick, Sovereign:  Poetry and yarns with Darcy and Em.

2pm  Health & Care in the time of Covid hegemony:  Resisting the state's abandonment of immunocompromised families.

3pm  Queering the Air:  Our Disability doesn't define us. Presented by Sasja Sydek.
In this special episode commemorating the International Day of People with Disability, Sasja and Geri, proud trans women, courageously open up about their personal experiences living with disability. For Sasja, this marks her first time openly discussing her disability, a significant milestone that has been long overdue. The societal attitudes, cultural norms, and the era in which she was raised have all contributed to a reluctance to acknowledge her disability. Geri will provide an in-depth account of her life with autism, offering firsthand insights that are sure to be enlightening. The episode promises a compelling narrative, delving into the challenges and triumphs of living with a disability in a world that often overlooks the diverse experiences of individuals like Sasja and Geri.

4pm  Raising Our Voices: Experiences in the Healthcare System: Heather, Skye, Lisa and Steve have a conversation about their experiences as people with disability in the healthcare system.  They talk about how they have been treated by doctors and other health workers, access to support and information about the different sections of the health system (which can be difficult to navigate), and also the cost of healthcare and lack of financial support. 

4.30pm  The Boldness:  The NDIS gave us a new identity: Consumer.  
Presenter Raphael Kaleb speaks with Micheline Lee, author of Lifeboat: Disability, Humanity and the NDIS.  What is wrong with the NDIS? How can we fix the NDIS? When will people with a disability have the same rights and choices as the rest of the community? 

5pm  Palestine, Free:  Peace through justice, health through decolonisation.

6pm  Ubuntu VoicesWe are here! Presented by Ajak Kwai.
Ajak is joined by three music artists: Damage, Sage and Madhatta from Wild At Heart.

3CR presenter Jane Rosengrave
3CR’s Disability Day Broadcast presented and produced by people with disabilities and chronic illness.



Disability Day 2023

27 Oct 2023
Health Sovereignty - a 12-hour broadcast on Sunday 3 December 2023

Disability Day 2022

25 Nov 2022
Rest is Survival - a 12-hour broadcast on Saturday 3 December 2022

Disability Day 2021

3 Dec 2021
Grounding Disability Justice - a 12-hour broadcast on Friday 3 December 2021

Disability Day 2020

3 Dec 2020
Imagining disability justice - a 12-hour broadcast on Thursday 3 December 2020