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Candid Conversation with Politicians living with Disability

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Event description

In the week following the International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD) held on 3 December, we speak with three politicians living with a disability (incumbent and proposed) about their journey into politics and what motivated them to overcome challenges and obstacles to step into their respective roles.

In light of this year’s theme, ‘Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world’, Politics in Colour with the support of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) will be coordinating this Candid Conversation with Senator Jordon Steele-John - WA Greens Party; Ali France - the QLD Labor Candidate for the Federal seat of Dickson and Liesl Tesch - Labor Party Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly representing the Gosford region.

All three panellists have become strong advocates for the Disability sector as well as pushing a number of other social reforms.

Co-Facilitators for this event include Marcelle Hoff, former Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney who lives with the after-effects of Polio and Mary Henley-Collopy, an ADFO Director and consultant on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) who has a permanent disability resulting from Thalidomide damage.

Politics in Colour: Candid Conversations with Politicians living with a Disability

Date: 8 December 2021

Time: 7-8pm AEDT

Venue: Zoom (link emailed 2 hours before event)



Senator Jordon Steele-John – WA Greens

Jordon Steele-John is an Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia and a passionate disability rights advocate. Elected to the Senate at age 23, Jordon’s goal is to challenge the boundaries of political norms – both in the Senate and the community – to create a just and peaceful future.

Jordon advocates relentlessly for a fair, accessible and fully-funded NDIS, and played a leading role in the campaign to establish the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. He is a strong proponent of disability pride and hopes to create a legacy of accessibility that reflects the true diversity of Australian society. In 2019, Jordon was named one of the McKinnon Political Leaders of the Year.

Ms Liesl Tesch MP – NSW Labor

Liesl was born in Brisbane and grew up in Brisbane, New Zealand, and Lake Macquarie.  She participated in basketball, swimming, sailing, windsurfing, and cycling as a child and played state basketball team at high school. At the age of 19, she broke her back after a mountain-bike accident, becoming an incomplete paraplegic. She later received a Bachelor of Science and a Diploma of Education from the University of Newcastle.

In February 2017, Tesch was selected by the Labor Party to contest the Gosford state by-election and won the election in April 2017. She has won numerous sporting awards including major sailing awards, induction into the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame and the Australian Paralympic Committee Uncle Kevin Coombs Medal for ‘The Spirit of the Games’ in 2016. 

Ms Ali France  – Labor Candidate for Dickson QLD

Ali has lived on the Northside of Brisbane for thirteen years and is a mum of two teenage boys and has campaigned for policies that support job security and cheaper childcare for all families. Ali is an amputee and disability advocate, who continues to fight against the Morrison government’s proposed changes to the NDIS and the rights of disabled people.

Ali has worked in the private, public and charity sectors as a journalist and communications manager and knows the struggle of trying to get back to work following an injury and illness. Ali spent many years in and out of hospital after a traumatic accident in 2011 and advocates for our public hospital system and our front line workers.

This event is proudly sponsored by the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (ADFO) which champions the rights of people living with disability.  The aim of the even this collaboration with Politics in Colour is to inspire and equip more people living with disabilities to consider running for public office, engaging with the political process or helping others to run.

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