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Thursday, 4 July 2019
Page: 336


Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (13:33): I rise today to issue a challenge to all members of parliament and senators to participate in this year's Auslan leaders challenge. Join the challenge to show your support for the 30,000 or so Australians who speak Auslan today. It's easy—kind of. All you need to do is record a short sentence in Auslan on video so that it can be broadcast on 23 September as part of the International Week of the Deaf. It will form part of Australia's contribution to the International Day of Sign Languages. The deaf societies and organisations all around the country will be standing by to help you all record your messages. If you think it's too hard, New Zealand did it in May. All of them from Jacinda Ardern down spoke their sentence and videotaped it in New Zealand Sign Language in conjunction with Deaf Aotearoa, a great contribution to recognition of sign language by the New Zealand parliament. If the Kiwis can do it, we can do it.

Most of you know I do this every year. I've been doing my 90-second statement in Auslan every International Week of the Deaf for quite a few years. It's not easy, because Auslan is actually a different language. The grammar's different. But it is remarkable and, if you do it, you will learn something about one of the great Australian languages, recognised as an Australian language 30 years ago and spoken in Australia for over 200 years. It's really worth doing. In the next week, you'll get a letter from the CEO of the Deaf Society, Leonie Jackson, telling you how to do it. Get on board, speak a bit of Auslan and learn something about another great Australian language.