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Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Page: 2436


Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (15:58): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) 2 April 2018 is World Autism Awareness Day,

   (ii) the theme for this year's World Autism Awareness Day is 'Empowering Women and Girls with Autism',

   (iii) there are approximately 164,000 individuals in Australia on the autism spectrum,

   (iv) World Autism Awareness Day celebrates the unique talents of those on the autism spectrum, and

   (v) Autism SA affirms that World Autism Awareness Day is about awareness, understanding, participation, inclusion and self-determination, and it is a day to remind us all about how we should embrace difference and individual choices every day;

(b) encourages all Australians to participate in the planned events across Australia as part of World Autism Awareness Day;

(c) recognises that:

   (i) only around 40% of adults on the autism spectrum in Australia are employed - many of those are working in jobs below their educational or professional level - compared with 53% of working-age people with disability and 83% of people without disability,

   (ii) companies, such as DXC Technology Australia, with its Dandelion Program and its partnership with ANZ in its Spectrum Program, enable people on the autism spectrum to realise their right to participate in the workforce,

   (iii) DXC's Dandelion Program, which commenced in Australia in 2014, employs close to 60 people in Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane, many of them working in Federal Government departments, including Defence, Human Services and Home Affairs, and

   (iv) ANZ's inaugural Spectrum Program has employed 9 people on the autism spectrum, with four employed in cybersecurity roles, and five as test analysts;

(d) further encourages other Australian companies to employ Australians on the autism spectrum to realise their potential;

(e) acknowledges that:

   (i) in Australia, the right to educational opportunities is protected by law,

   (ii) people on the autism spectrum are less likely than others to complete an educational qualification beyond school and have needs for support that differ from people with other disabilities,

   (iii) girls with disabilities are less likely to complete primary school and more likely to be marginalised or denied access to education,

   (iv) Australian classrooms today showcase diversity at its best as they reflect the world that our children are growing up in - they should include children from different ethnic backgrounds, different cultures, with different abilities and from different family structures, all of which society embraces, and

   (v) Autism SA strongly advocates for individuals on the autism spectrum to contribute and participate in mainstream social and economic environments, and this extends to the inclusion and participation of children in mainstream environments; and

(f) affirms that children with disabilities have the same education rights as all other children, whether they attend mainstream schools or schools with a specific purpose.

Question agreed to.