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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11674


Mr LAUNDY (Reid) (11:17): Julie and Graham, the members for Parramatta and Moreton, have come at this from a community-based angle. I am so proud to be associated with this motion. Today, I want to put a personal angle. I see Julie is shaking her head. In my maiden speech I wanted to explain my passion for disability services, and I talked to my wife about it because of my personal involvement. I was conscious of using language that would be very vanilla, if you like.

Last year at this time, the member for Parramatta did a 90-second statement in the chamber. I was soon to follow and, by chance, I was in the chamber, which is not always the case with 90-second statements. At the end of the statement, I walked around the back of the Deputy Speaker's chair and I congratulated Julie for her statement, and I owned up to a little secret that I had been keeping. The reason that I had been careful with the language construction in my maiden speech was that my daughter Analise, who is now 13 years old, was born but not identified until 18 months of age with a severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. She is one of the 90 per cent of Australians who are born into hearing families with hearing loss, as we have heard today. I spoke to my daughter Analise, who at that stage was 12 years old, and asked her if she would mind if I told our story at different times—wanting to get her okay, I guess. She looked at me and, bold as punch, she said, 'Dad, if my story helps anyone, you feel free to tell it whenever you want.'

Coincidentally, the member for Parramatta and I share a border and we have overlaps into each other's communities. The member for Parramatta rightfully mentioned that we share an amazing part of Sydney through its multiculturalism and diversity. Through all the government services offered, we see the way that language is taken seriously—and she alluded to that. It should not stop in the disability space. The member for Parramatta is right: government should always seek to include all. There are 30,000 deaf people who use Auslan at the moment and we should push to continually do more in this space—you are right, member for Parramatta. It is also correct that it is not because deaf people cannot read. You are right, member for Parramatta.

When there are state emergencies it is a very common thing nowadays to see Auslan interpreters. All state governments have stepped up their game by having Auslan interpreters sitting side by side with those disseminating critical information on matters of what could potentially be life or death. But it should not just stop at those situations. It should permeate and infiltrate every mode of life so that those 30,000 people can not only rise to the challenges they have been presented with; they can overcome the challenges. We should do all we can in government to assist that to happen. In whatever time I am given in this place, I will push, along with wonderful members like the member for Parramatta, in a bipartisan way, to do and deliver more, because that is when this parliament works at its best.

To finish where I started on a personal anecdote: life as the father of a hearing impaired child always gives you nice presents that you do not see coming. I got home last Thursday night from parliament unaware that my daughter Analise had just been fitted with new hearing aids. She does not use Auslan; she uses technology. Suzie, my wife, told me a story. Analise's hearing aids were being fitted and Suzie was sitting next to her in a chair. About half an hour into the fitting, Analise looked at her and said, 'Mum, what's that noise?' and Suzie said, 'What noise?' She could not work it out. Later on, Suzie moved in the chair, and Analise said, 'That noise! That noise!' It was the chair creaking. Analise is 13 years of age and had never heard a chair creak in her life. Technology helped her overcome that and rise to meet her challenges. We as government should enable those who use Auslan to also rise to meet and overcome their challenges and succeed. Thank you, Member for Parramatta.