“The NSW Government has an obligation to protect the rights of people with disability, and must provide Auslan interpreters for all COVID-19 press conferences.”
ALHR is appalled. No AUSLAN interpreters visible at recent NSW Govt COVID-19 press conferences. This violates of Article 21 of the #CRPD. We call on Premier Perrottet to act immediately https://t.co/kMVYCHSZTM #nswpol
A spokesperson for Mr Perrettot said the reason Auslan interpreters were not present at some press conferences is because they were not led by NSW Health.
“As NSW returns to a more normal setting, there will be some media events where the services of Auslan interpreters will not be requested,” a statement read.
“NSW Health will continue to book Auslan interpreters at press conferences… and at any press conference where the Chief Health Officer or Deputy is providing a public health update.”
And many choose to communicate in Auslan – the language of the Australian deaf community.
Some described the NSW premier’s response as “selective accessibility”.
“The provision of Auslan interpreters for press conferences needs to be consistent, not just a few pressers. Are we not privy to information that could help us to make informed decisions as full citizens?” Sherrie Beaver, a deaf Auslan user said on Twitter.
With Sydney exiting lockdown today, I have noticed there wasn’t an Auslan interpreter present at this morning’s presser with @Dom_Perrottet – same for the last few days. Source tells me Perrottet cancelled Auslan interpreters for all NSW press conferences.
NSW opposition disability spokeswoman Kate Washington said the lack of interpreters was a “backward step” by the premier.
“This can’t be an oversight, someone somewhere has decided to axe the Auslan interpreters. More than a million people with hearing loss in NSW have lost access to this information under Dom Perrottet,” she said.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley apologised to viewers during Tuesday’s COVID-19 press conference for having no interpreter present.
“Unfortunately our hard-working Auslan interpreters were unable to make it today… but we’ll make sure those arrangements are re-instated tomorrow,” he said.
Deaf Australia chief executive Jen Blyth said there was also a lack of Auslan interpreters used at Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s press conferences.
“The last 50 press conferences that he’s done, there’s only been about six interpreters present,” she told SBS News.
“We’ve begun a campaign to help the community support this advocacy cause.”