Skip Links

The Economics of Disability

Damian Griffis, Samantha Connor, Bruce Bonyhady 

In a fair society, everybody has what they need - but prejudice against people with disabilities creates barriers to economic independence. Join this necessary panel to learn about what needs to change. 

Hosted by Jackie Leah Scully.

In the Utzon Room.

Talks & Ideas | Antidote 

“Inclusion is everybody's business.”

Pro Bono Australia

Economic justice and disability activism

One in five Australians has a disability. Ableist thought sees disability as a drain on the economy - but employing disabled people has demonstrable benefits to organisations and to the economy more broadly. Employment provides people with disability with increased income, and therefore higher living standards, financial independence, reduced welfare demand - not to mention a sense of identity and purpose.

So why is the employment rate of people with disabilities low compared to international standards? Why do 45% of people with a disability live in or near poverty? And how do people navigate the intersection of systemic barriers, like poverty or racism? Join these seasoned researchers and activists as they explore the economic realities of disability, and how Australia can become a more inclusive place.

More about the speakers...

Damian Griffis is a descendant of the Worimi people of the Manning Valley in NSW. He is a leading advocate for the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disability. Damian has been a central figure in the establishment of both the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and the national organisation representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities and their families – the First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN).

Samantha Connor is a disability and human rights activist, wheelchair user, writer and self-proclaimed social media assassin. She has held a number of prominent positions in the disability sector including Vice President of People with Disability Australia. Samantha has a passion for the prevention of violence against disabled people and an interest in the correlation between societal attitudes and hate crimes, including crimes against autistic individuals. She has a strong background in systemic advocacy in the areas of disability and disadvantage and is currently the Convenor of Yellow Sub, a disability rights organisation.

Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM is the Executive Chair and Director of the Melbourne Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne. He is also an Enterprise Professor in Disability Economics at the University of Melbourne. He is one of the key architects of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and is widely regarded as the “father” of the Scheme. In 2010, Bruce became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to people with disability, their families and carers and to the community, as a contributor to a range of charitable organisations. From 2013 to 2016, Bruce was also the Inaugural Chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency. 

Jackie Leach Scully is a bioethicist and disability activist. Deaf since childhood and now living with chronic illness, she has a background in both biomedical science and social science and is internationally recognised as a leading figure in feminist ethics and disability studies. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and of the Royal Society of Arts in the UK. Throughout her career she has been committed to fostering interdisciplinary and public engagement in disability, and ensuring that the views of people with disabilities inform debates in healthcare research and policy. Jackie has recently arrived in Sydney to take up the role of Director of the Disability Innovation Institute (DIIU) at the University of New South Wales.


Frequently Asked Questions

You may also like...

The State We’re In
Melissa Lucashenko, Deborah Lipstadt, Fintan O'Toole
Melissa Lucashenko, Deborah Lipstadt and Fintan O'Toole on an essential panel discussion on the complex idea of national identity worldwide. In a world obsessed with borders, how do we define ourselves?
Talks & Ideas
My Crime is Journalism
Maria Ressa, Lina Attalah, Irina Borogan & Steve Coll
Governments across the globe are cracking down on press freedom. Get to know the courageous journalists who are sacrificing everything to tell the truth at Antidote.
Talks & Ideas
Dark Data
Christopher Wylie & Andrei Soldatov
Data is being used to influence elections and invade our privacy. Hear whistleblower Christopher Wylie and Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov explain why this is one of the most important issues of our age at Antidote.
Talks & Ideas