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Thursday, 13 November 2008
Page: 10955

Mr MURPHY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade) (9:50 AM) —This morning I give a brief history of a remarkable constituent in my electorate of Lowe. Jan Daisley is a finalist for this year’s National Disability Award. More than 40 years ago, during a routine medical procedure, Jan experienced a cardiac arrest where she suffered severe physical impairment. This included speech impairment, spastic quadriplegia and loss of sight. If this were not enough, Jan later fought breast cancer. Despite her multiple disabilities, Jan did not stop living or achieving. Moreover, Jan set about changing the way society thinks about people with a disability.

Described as a social educator who has influenced many of her teachers, lecturers, carers, colleagues, family and friends, Jan has been active in focusing not on her disabilities but on the needs and rights of others with a disability. After years of rehabilitation, Jan was transferred to institutional care. It is where many spend the rest of their lives, but not Jan. After years of campaigning, she was one of few to be transferred to a relatively independent group home. As a life member of People with Disability, Jan has since advocated for the rights of others to live in the community. Jan has been a source of hope for others that relative independence can be achieved with the support of groups such as People with Disability and a change in the attitude of governments to provide appropriate accommodation and care.

What is so remarkable about Jan Daisley is her spirit to continue fighting for her independence and her tenacity to seek a change in attitude of those who told her it could not be done. Jan is a university graduate with a Bachelor of Education (Habilitation). She has also been awarded the Carroll and O’Dea Scholarship for her efforts in raising critical awareness on community issues, particularly in the area of ethics. In her spare time Jan has written two books: I Hear More Than You See and Rebels with a Cause. Both books describe the challenges she faced living with her disabilities.

There is no doubt that Jan Daisley is a truly inspirational human being. I have had the pleasure of knowing Jan for many years, and I am very proud to be her federal member. I congratulate Jan for her tremendous achievements, and I am delighted that her efforts have been recognised. On the International Day of People with Disability, I will be attending the gala dinner where the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon. Jenny Macklin, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, the Hon. Bill Shorten, will honour 15 extraordinary people for their contribution to society. I salute Jan Daisley and the other 14 finalists. They are truly extraordinary human beings. I wish Jan Daisley and the other nominees the very best of luck. They deserve it.