Thursday, 21 March 2024

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: World Down Syndrome Day


Ministers statements: World Down Syndrome Day

Lizzie BLANDTHORN (Western Metropolitan – Minister for Children, Minister for Disability) (12:22): I rise to advise the house that today is World Down Syndrome Day. It is a time to focus our attention towards combating stereotypes and misconceptions about Down syndrome. It happens in March each year, the third month on the calendar, to signify the triplication of the 21st chromosome, the cause of the condition. It is also a day when supporters wear odd socks as part of the Lots of Socks campaign to grab people’s attention and start the conversation. This year’s World Down Syndrome Day theme is ‘End the stereotypes’, focusing on the rights of those living with Down syndrome to live without judgement and the right of people with Down syndrome to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives with their family and friends. We are all equal, and we all want the same things.

I was very pleased to share morning tea this morning with Down Syndrome Victoria, a great organisation that advocates for people with Down syndrome and their families and celebrates the value of every life. I would like to acknowledge Brendan Edwards, board president of DSV; Daniel Payne, CEO of Down Syndrome Victoria; Matthew O’Neil and Emily from the Down Syndrome Advisory Network; and all of those who attended, including the shadow minister for his bipartisan support. Down Syndrome Victoria brought us together this morning with family, friends and supporters of Victorians with Down syndrome to celebrate and encourage us to end the stereotypes. I was particularly touched, and I thank those families who shared their reflections, hopes and dreams for themselves and their loved ones. It was a fantastic celebration to mark this important day in the calendar.

As a government we recognise that ending the stereotypes also means giving voice to people with disability. It means moving past harmful, outdated ideas that in the past have led to governments making policy for people with disability instead of making it with them. It is unfair, and it simply does not work. It is vital that we bring a ‘nothing about us without us’ approach to policymaking, that we give voice to the lived experience of people with disability and that in doing so we create a better, more effective and targeted system of policies and programs. Here in Victoria we are very pleased and proud to say that our state disability plan, Inclusive Victoria, has been co-designed by Victorians with disability, their families and carers and the service sector more broadly.