Autism Queensland Creative Futures Recognition Awards
Good morning, everyone – and welcome to Government House on this ‘red letter day’ for all those who live with a disability and for those who care for them: the International Day of People with Disability.
I am pleased to say that today is embraced enthusiastically by communities throughout Queensland. In fact, there are no fewer than 75 events being held throughout our State today... including a Pancake Exhibition in Gladstone and Arm Wrestling in the Roma Street Parklands!
We are not planning any such activities on the immaculate lawns of Government House! However, as your Governor, I am very pleased to be able to continue the commitment of my predecessors to supporting Autism Queensland by hosting the Creative Futures Recognition Awards here. I am particularly pleased that my first action as your Patron can be to present the 2014 awards.
The United Nations Theme for the International Day of People with Disability this year focuses on the future promise of technology. Advances in technology (especially medical technology and research) are certainly important to all those who live with disability.
However, today, our focus is less on technology than on the power of human action to create an inclusive, empowered future for those living with autism. The practical, concerted contribution being made by individuals and organisations in communities throughout Queensland is critical to this effort. I applaud them for helping those Queenslanders with autism spectrum disorder to realise not only their dreams and aspirations, but their full potential.
The United Nations has acknowledged this imperative since its 1975 Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons.
Today, we are all reminded that, in 1992, 17 years after that original Declaration, the United Nations itself reversed the wording of the title to put the emphasis squarely where it should be – on the individual, declaring the third of December to be not the ‘International Day of Disabled Persons’, but the ‘International Day of People with Disability’.
Acknowledging that critical distinction, and honouring the effort and contribution of our ‘Creative Futures’ awardees is the reason we are here today. On behalf of my fellow Queenslanders, I congratulate and thank all of them. Our communities and Australian society would be so much the poorer without the work they have done and continue to do to maximise the potential of those who live with Autism, and their contribution to our State and to our nation.