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Thursday, 2 December 2004
Page: 149

Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (6:32 PM) —The incorporated speech read as follows—

My colleagues in this Chamber would be aware that since 1999 I have been involved in the Politician Adoption Scheme. The Scheme is run by the Developmental Disability Council and I was adopted by Stephen Franklin and his family.

The condition suffered by Stephen manifests itself in severe physical disabilities and mental handicaps. Yet Stephen's family, particularly his mother, Carol, have shown incredible strength of will to provide Stephen with the best possible care and they have fought tirelessly for his rights and the rights of others with disabilities. Today we celebrate the achievement of people with disabilities, like Stephen, and their families in the International Day of People with a DisAbility.

Stephen's transition into his group home has been a resounding success. So much so, that the home is being extended to accommodate others. Stephen has flourished in his home and I'm sure he will be very happy there for many years to come.

The Scheme's co-ordinators, the Developmental Disability Council, are looking to extend the Politician Adoption Scheme beyond Western Australia and I would urge those present to participate if possible. I have found the Scheme to be incredibly informative and rewarding through my acceptance into the Franklin family. I would highly recommend it.

It is important that today we recognise the contributions made by people with disabilities and also the vital support provided by their families.