Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) -- I move:
That this house takes note of the petition tabled on 6 June 2012 bearing 791 signatures from certain citizens of Victoria requesting the Legislative Council take action to save the full-time diploma of Auslan course at Kangan Institute, thereby ensuring the continuation of comprehensive high-level Auslan training.
Greens MLC Colleen Hartland tabled a petition in Victorian Parliament today on behalf of the Deaf community, their families, friends and workplaces.
"I am very proud to bring this petition to Parliament, bearing 791 signatures of Victorians calling for action to save the full time Diploma of Auslan (Australian Sign Language) course at Kangan Institute, thereby ensuring the continuation of comprehensive high level Auslan training," said Colleen Hartland
"Communication is a basic human right."
"This is a very strong campaign by the community, and I am proud to represent them in Parliament. We will keep the campaign going in parliament and in the community until funding is restored," said Ms Hartland.
Auslan interpreters and 80 members of the deaf and Auslan (Australian sign language) speaking communities packed the gallery of Victorian Parliament today, when Greens MLC Colleen Hartland questioned the Higher Education Minister Peter Hall about cuts to Auslan education.
"The Minister is still blaming non-government organisations for the Baillieu government's failure to provide funding for Kangan TAFE to continue its Diploma of Auslan," said Victorian Greens Disability Rights spokesperson Colleen Hartland.
"He is still trying to fudge the issue, by pretending that a part time certificate course is anything like a Diploma. That's like training someone for first aid and sending them off to be a doctor."
"Without the Diploma of Auslan, students won't be able to go on to study to become an interpreter. Without interpreters in Victoria, there will be a whole range of human rights issues."
Greens MLC Colleen Hartland has described the closure of Victoria's only accredited Australian Sign Language (Auslan) diploma due to funding cuts by the Baillieu government as "a human rights issue" in Parliament today, and described the Minister's plan to bring in NSW Auslan trainers as "shonky".
"This is a human rights issue wrapped up in an education issue," said Colleen Hartland
"Auslan is an official community language, used by deaf Auslan speakers and by people with hearing who want to communicate with deaf Auslan speakers. There is only one Diploma of Auslan course in Victoria, at Kangan TAFE. The course is going to close at the end of this year due to funding cuts."
I thank the previous speaker for outlining the technicalities of this bill. As has been said, it is a very straightforward bill and it has general support from the disability community. I am going to speak very briefly, not because I do not think disability is important but because, as I said, the sector actually thinks that this is a good bill.
Yesterday I attended a rally at Federation Square for the NDIS -- the national disability insurance scheme -- and thousands of people were there supporting this cause. There were people with a disability, carers and workers in the sector all calling on the government to get on with the job and to bring in the NDIS.
Greens MLC Colleen Hartland has warned New Zealand Parliament that the world is watching how it adapts to the presence of Greens MP Mojo Mathers, who is deaf.
"The New Zealand Parliament should treat the election of a deaf MP as an opportunity to modernise and reach out to members of the community who are deaf or hard of hearing. Instead the Speaker has told Ms Mathers that she must pay for the electronic note-taking she needs to participate in debates," said Ms Hartland, the Victorian Greens spokesperson for Disability Rights.
"I would like to add my voice to those people around the world who are asking him to change his mind."