Welcome to Australians for Disability and Diversity Employment   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to Australians for Disability and Diversity Employment Australians for Disability and Diversity Employment Inc. © 2014 GSpeech



Radio interview

Sunday, May 17, 2009, 3AW Radio 'Talking Health' program hosted by health expert GP
Dr Sally Cockburn on the topic of Social Isolation. Michael Merrett, ADDE spoke on
advocacy issues and employment for people with disabilities and other disadvantages.
He also introduced Australians for Disability and Diversity Employment (ADDE) and its
membership recruitment feature on Facebook.

The file '180509_Social_Isolation.mp3' 19.5 MB file can be downloaded from the 3AW
website. Michael Merrett talks from 01:21:22 to 01:28:00 (6 minutes and
38 seconds).


Radio interview

A mental health service in Melbourne has opened a cafe that's main focus is making a
difference not a profit. The Madcap Cafe employs people that suffer from mental illness,
helping them to re-enter the workforce. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, broadcast:
23/10/2008, reporter: Lisa Whitehead.


Radio interview

Jason Anderson, ADDE spoke on ABC Local Radio on the program The World Today on
Monday, March 2, 2009 at 12:42pm. Please click on the following link to read the transcript
from The World Today Reporter: Alison Caldwell of the interview Shorten urges awareness
of our disabled. Program includes comments from Bill Shorten and Jason Anderson.

Listen to the story in MP3 format. At 2:10 to 2:45 minutes the reporter
introduces Jason Anderson. The total length of the interview is 3:22 minutes.

Following is a link to the transcript from The World Today Reporter: Alison Caldwell of
the interview Shorten urges awareness of our disabled:

http://www.abc.net.au/ worldtoday/content/2008/ s2504980.htm


Disability Employment Survey

Monday 18 August 2008 at VHREOC. Launch of the Leading from the Front? report.
This research investigates the disability sector's disability employment practices and
asks whether the sector is leading by example when it comes to disability employment..
more Click here to download report in PDF format

Click here for doc format


Radio interview

Following is the link to the 3/6/2008 Radio National 621 AM program
'Australia Talks' interview with ADDE president Peter Rickards..
Peter Rickards is the second caller starting from 10.27 minutes into
the program.


National Disability Employment Forum

9.30 am-3pm, Wednesday 18 July 2007, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights
Commission Level 3, 380 Lonsdale St, Melbourne


ADDE as featured on 'No limits', Channel 31

Australians for Disability and Diversity Employment Incorporated (ADDE INC.)
ADDE Inc. Policy Document (Final Draft April 2011)

*Please email any comments / additions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here to view the policy document in PDF format.

Click here to download the policy document in MS Word format.


Employment of people with disability – Federal, State and Local Government

“I would like to live in a global society where people with disabilities and other
disadvantages are treated fairly and the idea of social inclusion is a complete reality” ~
Michael Merrett, ADDE Inc. Member, and living with the aid of a mobility device (scooter).

Policy at a glance:

Employers to adopt pro-active “Disability and Diversity Employment” policies and practices

Awareness raising and coordination of information and resources; a “One Stop Shop”

Halt the decline and increase employment of people with disability in the Public Services

Government service and supply contracts to be tendered to businesses which have
proactive disability employment practices

Consultancy services on disability issues to use people with disability as paid trainers and

Government and government funded disability service providers to work towards staff

The Business sector to emulate examples of best practice employment through
awareness raising workshops and to be shown the business case for employing
people with disability.

Support a coordinated approach to disability employment advocacy

Bipartisanship between all political parties on disability employment policy –
party politics has no place here.

Innovative practice on work readiness to be encouraged

Disclosure of disability should be the norm in recruitment and in the workplace.
This will only happen if recruitment agencies and places of work are supportive of and
proactively employing people with disability.

People with disability can enliven the workplace and act as conduits to diversity by being
encouraged by their employer to educate the staff on life with a disability.

A universal Measurement tool for data collection to be created so that targets on
employment of people with disability can be established and measured.

As of August, 2009, Australia is a signatory to and has ratified the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities*. We have also signed and ratified
the Optional Protocol which ensures that complaints received indicating grave or systemic
violations of the Convention will be inquired into and actioned. In doing so, Australia
agrees to the legally binding policies within the document which will ensure employers
and management will mainstream disability in all their activities with the understanding
that discrimination will not be tolerated and in fact is against the law.

Income support payments also need to be geared so that where possible they encourage
people who choose to seek employment to do so, rather than creating new barriers.

Encourage innovative approaches to employment of people with disability such as social
enterprises, or initiatives to assist people with disability establish their own small




Attitudinal barriers

“I found so many barriers to getting back into the workforce………” Peter Rickards,
President, ADDE Inc. and living with vision impairment.

Employers often look at the negatives of employing someone with a disability such as
extra cost, lack of flexibility, less productive because of health issues. However,
organizations which pro-actively employ people with disability such as Coles, Brisbane City
Council, ACT Government, Telstra and IBM Australia have measurable data which shows
that less sick leave is taken by employees with disability than by able workers, they stay
in the job longer, value their jobs more and often work harder. By employing a person with
disability, the workplace can be enlivened by the diversity it will bring, for example
workplaces where non-disabled staff are being taught Auslan, as a result of employing
deaf staff.


Managers think that employing someone with a disability is taking a risk, and unless
they are supported by senior management and the Board to employ people from
disadvantaged groups, they are unlikely to do so.


Most organizations believe that stating they are an “Equal opportunity employer”
implies openness to employing people with disabilities or with other disadvantages.
However often an applicant with a disability has to be much better than other applicants,
to have an equal opportunity to be employed. Usually employers will give other reasons
for that person not being successful, and all source data can be destroyed after an
appointment is made. There is a big difference between non-discrimination (equal
opportunity), a minimalist approach and having a pro-active approach to a diverse
work force.
Recruiters responsible for short listing candidates for interview will usually see
someone declaring they have a disability, as having a negative attribute which will
eliminate them from the short list. The prospective applicant with a disability is
consequently afraid to disclose their disability. Without a supportive environment
in both recruitment practice and places of work, disclosure will not occur.




Structural barriers

“In addition to experiencing barriers to my age I also believe I have been excluded from at
least one position, which I was short-listed for, due to my hearing disability.”

Kathy Leitch, ADDE Inc., Development Officer and living with hearing impairment.

People with disabilities may not have the same level of experience or skill as other
applicants because of fewer opportunities in the past. Even while at school or university
people with disabilities have more difficulty gaining part time or casual employment.

People with disability tend to stay longer in the same job because of greater difficulty in
changing jobs, and greater fear of not finding other work if they leave their present job.
It is, therefore, much harder to have a competitive resume.

Organizations which use recruitment agencies to source a short list for positions are most
unlikely to have any applicants with disabilities short listed for interview.

Often computer software systems used by organizations are not accessible to screen
reading software used by people with vision impairment.
Work places are often not accessible to people with mobility problems or in wheel chairs.

Many work locations are not accessible by public transport especially bus and tram, making
it difficult for people with mobility issues to get to interviews and access prospective

Often key selection criteria require having a drivers license when travel may be required
to other sites or locations, when this may not be an essential part of the job or can be
worked around by a creative approach.

Many people with disability have no incentive to look for work because they are likely to
loose their benefits, financial as well as concessions to services and supports.




Solutions – Big picture

“I personally am looking for some paid part-time work this year, knowing what a change
to my life it is going to make. It will only re-enforce for me that paid employment is
possible to a disabled person and that I am a worthy part of society.” Jason Anderson,
Member, ADDE Inc. and living with MS

The fundamental strategy to increase employment opportunities for people with
disabilities needs to be in convincing employers to adopt pro-active “Disability
and Diversity Employment” policies and practices.

This means that employers will actively seek to employ a percentage of their work
force as people with disabilities. The percentage should be 11.2% (this is the Australian
Bureau of Statistics figure for the Australian population of work force age with disabilities).
This can be achieved in stages ie. 5%, 8%, 11%.

Large organizations which are able to adopt diversity employment policies should also
have employment targets for other disadvantaged groups including mature aged, youth,
indigenous people, and people from culturally diverse back grounds.

It is important that attention be also given to providing promotional and career
opportunities for people with disability. Failure to do so increases the chance that
people with disability will be stuck in low paid and less challenging roles. One strategy
which can be adopted is to give them an opportunity to act in more senior positions
during periods of staff leave of absence.

To achieve success in Diversity Employment there are several key elements required:

A top down commitment to the process (from the Board and senior management)

The setting of achievable targets and measurement tool to be in place with data collection

Line management to be accountable for achieving targets and to regularly report

A high level of training and awareness

Establishment of an Equity and Diversity unit in the HR Department



Note: Although the Federal/State Disability Agreement puts employment as the
responsibility of the Federal Government, State and local Governments have an
extremely important role to play in providing employment for people with disabilities and
other disadvantages. The same criteria should apply as to the Federal Government.



Government responsibilities

Selling the Disability and Diversity Employment message

Government should allocate resources to sell this message to provide information and
referral to State Governments, local Governments, the business sector and the Not for
Profit sector. The message should be that:



“It makes good business sense as well as making the organization a good corporate
citizen to adopt Disability and Diversity employment policies and practices.” HREOC
(Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) National Inquiry into employment
and disability, 2005



Coordination of information

Employers who wish to employ more people with disabilities often do not know what to do,
what supports they can get, and what models of best practice they can adopt. There are so
many different organizations and supports involved in part of the process, that it is very


Governments should work together to establish a “One Stop Shop” similar in nature to
INDUSTRY TECHLINK. This service could take initial enquiries and refer to the
organization/agency best able to meet the employers need. As with INDUSTRIAL
TECHLINK an important part of the function of this service would be to promote that
it provides information and referral services.


The Federal Government has established a “One Stop Shop information website called
JOBACCESS”. A lot of resources have been spent on this web site providing interactive
learning on disability. Research shows however that this type of learning does not change
attitude towards disability in the work place. It further shows that only direct involvement
with a person with a disability, as part of a training process will change attitudes in a
positive way. Therefore resources need to be allocated to providing paid training
opportunities for people with disabilities to change attitudes in the Public Service,
and all other Government organizations and agencies.




The Public Service

The percentage of people with disability in the Federal Public Service has dropped over
the last ten years from 6.8% to just 3 %. Governments MUST adopt disability and
diversity employment policies in the Public Service to increase employment of people
with disabilities in line with best practice (11.2%) This can be achieved in stages ie 5%,
8%, 11%. Diversity policies should also cater for other disadvantaged groups including
mature age, youth, indigenous, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse
backgrounds. Most state and local governments and other large organizations do not
have measurable data on the percentage of people with disability in their workforce.
Unless baseline data is established there is no way of measuring success or otherwise
of any of the policies or strategies implemented to improve employment outcomes.

Targets should be set and achieved over a term of office. Measurement and data
collection will ensure that progress is taking place. Until Governments lead from
the front they will have no credibility in trying to convince anyone else.

All employment agencies used by Government should be given guidelines to seek
people with disabilities and people with other disadvantages for job interviews

All job advertisements should have the wording “people from disadvantaged groups are
encouraged to apply”.
If the job advertised is assisting to provide services to people with disability or has the
word “Disability” in the title or job description, then the words “people with disabilities are
encouraged to apply” should be in the job advertisement.
Because many people with disability have difficulty accessing job advertisements in
newspapers, all jobs should be advertised through Disability Employment Services
and the internet




Government service and supply contracts

Large suppliers of Government services and goods should be required to have pro-active
employment policies for disadvantaged people
These requirements would be seen as giving preferred supplier status along with price and
quality etc.

It is important that there is an auditing mechanism to ensure what suppliers say they are
doing is actually occurring.

Consultancy services on disability issues. In order to promote self employment
opportunities for people with disability, it is important that a pro-active approach
is taken by encouraging people with disability to undertake these consultancy services.
The tendering process should stipulate, “Submissions from people with disabilities are
encouraged”, and organizations which employ PWD to undertake this work should be
preferred tenderers.



Government funded disability service providers and agencies

These organizations are at the front line of providing services and supports to people with
disabilities and are in the business of helping people with disabilities to find work and to
retain work. These organizations should be leading from the front in showing how to
employ people with disabilities by employing them on staff.

Research has been done by ADDE Inc. entitled, “Leading from the front?” which shows
that this sector is largely not setting a good example of employment of people with
disability on staff. Further research should be undertaken to determine what levels of
employment of PWD exist in these sectors, and to develop some models of best practice.

Very few of these organizations, both ‘for profit’ and ‘not for profit’ appear to have
a measurable percentage of their work force employed as people with disabilities.

Research shows that it can be strongly argued there should be a condition of their
funding grants which requires specified progress in employment levels for people with
disability for these funded agencies to be eligible for future funding from Government.

It is a fact that unless this matter becomes “top of mind” by the Board of Directors and
management, change is unlikely to occur.

Disability service providers to be encouraged to have people with disability on their
Boards. People with disabilities who are not working full time should be paid to be on

Disability service providers to have policies and strategies which transition people with
disability who are working as volunteers to paid roles within that organization. Too often
employed able-bodied people are working alongside people with disabilities, who are
volunteers doing unpaid work.
People with disability are often so well trained and have so many certificates that the
only thing that is lacking is the opportunity to get paid work.




The Business sector

Many examples of good employment practice exist for small businesses even though
they don’t have disability and diversity employment policies; however it is important
that medium and large organizations be strongly encouraged to adopt “Disability and
diversity employment” policies and practices. By adopting such policies and practices,
research shows that organizations achieve greater efficiency, are more innovative,
achieve a better profit, and provide a better service to customers.


The media can be used to sell this message, and resources could be allocated to conduct
forums for business leaders. The best message comes from those organizations which are
already doing it and can measure the outcomes.


Work place modification funding should also be available to people with disability who are
running their own small business, or are starting a small business through a training
program such as NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme).

“After my accident on the building site, I did a course to help me get a job in the building
game working in an office providing quotes, costing, etc. I sent out over 350 applications
without any result. In the end my brother and I had to start up our own business
managing a motor vehicle repair business. It was tough at first but we are doing very
well now.” (Disability Council of NSW, 2008)


* www.un.org/disabilities




*Please email any comments / additions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Click here to download the policy document in MS Word format.



Click to listen highlighted text! Australians for Disability and Diversity Employment Inc. © 2014 GSpeech