In response to approaches from members of, and advocates for, our deaf community, I requested to have an Auslan interpreter with me on the floor of the Senate live translating my first speech.
While disappointed that the major party Senate leaders were unwilling to grant my request, and the message this sends, I was glad that there there some measures in place to enable live translating, even if it wasn't in the inclusive and welcoming way our deaf community had hoped for.
Clearly we still have some way to go when it comes to aligning the lived values of the parliament with those of the people we have been elected to represent. I will be following up Senator Wong’s commitment to pursue better accessibility through the Senate Standing Committee on Procedure.
An encouraging trend now seems to be emerging of increasing numbers of press conferences and other speeches, including from the Prime Minister, including live Auslan interpreters.
You can see my (official) first speech in the Senate, including a written transcript, here.