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Pushing the boundaries: the exclusion of disability rights groups from political influence in Victoria

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An Australian federal government report 'Acting against disability discrimination' (1994) claims that disabled people 'throughout Australia have organised themselves into a movement which is growing in strength, militancy, numbers and political sophistication, particularly over the last two decades'. The purpose is to determine whether the disabled people's movement has any strength or influence on government in Victoria. Participant observation, focused interviews, and document analysis showed that confrontational disability rights groups remain marginal to the decision making and policy making of governments in Victoria. This is because of their strategies of direct action, staging visible actions to attract media attention and subverting the 'normal' use of space, their non-hierarchical structure, lack of direct government funding and their small membership base that includes non-disabled people. Marginalisation may require disability groups to rethink their organisation and means of resistance if they are to gain greater influence in the formal political arena.
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Keywords: Disability rights groups;; activism;; empowerment;; government; transformation of space;

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Monash University, Australia

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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