Be Part of Saying Good-Bye to the ‘R’ Word

If you’re anything like me, it really grates me when people don’t think about the language that they use. Especially when it is in a negative way or used to put people down.

So, when I heard about a campaign that challenges people to think about using the word “retarded”, I was especially interested since we all know how much it is part of popular culture.

It’s a word that modern society uses freely and openly. No one flinches when they speak it or write it and very few people question the use of it as everyday language.

However, the ‘R’ word is incredibly offensive and derogatory not just to those people with an intellectual and physical disability but also to their friends, families and support teams. The word makes people feel excluded, different and not accepted by the community.

Did you know that the ‘R’ Word is used on Social Media every 5 seconds?

On Twitter alone, the stats are staggering with at least:

125,000 +           Uses of the R Word per week

17,858 +             Uses per day

744                      per hour

12                        per minute.

Here at Physical Disability Australia, we were particularly interested in this campaign as we value dignity inherent in all of us and we’re especially keen in efforts to improve the lives of our members.

By changing the language that society uses to describe people, we are highlighting out we are the same rather than different. We see this campaign as promoting inclusion for people with disabilities as well as to ensure that society becomes more diverse while providing equal opportunities for all of us.

The ‘R’ Word Campaign is simple.  This campaign encourages people to consider the words they use and the impact they have on others.  All in all, it’s a simple campaign to help raise awareness and educate the public on the very real impact of what the ‘R’ Word means to many, many people.

And we’re looking to you to help us take the campaign onto the world stage and to make society think about the language that they use.

Gabrielle Trenbath
Victoria Park, WA

Today is World Social Justice Day

Jonathan SharPhysical Disability Australia has the core value of social justice, it drives everything we do as an organisation.

February 20 is World Social Justice Day, a United Nations sanctioned event that aims to promote “Social justice as an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.”

Social justice is about advocating to alleviate disadvantage through campaigning for social change by striving for equality.  It is important to celebrate Social Justice because it drives us  to do better by the disadvantaged and marginalised. Advocacy is a key role for PDA.

PDA integrates social justice into all of our activities by promoting equality for all people living with a physical disability in Australia, we seek to help create a fair and equitable society that is accessible for ALL. By being a voice for our community on issues affecting our lives we champion Social Justice, take our recent Queensland Rail campaign as an example of how we practice social justice.

My name is Jonathan Shar, I am the PDA Director for NSW and I study a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Social Justice. I chose this major because it will enable me to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities and to be able to strive for equality of people regardless of their ability, this semester I will be studying 2 courses. One on Law, Human Rights and Global Governance the other on Human Rights, Policy and the Law. These courses will enhance my ability to represent your concerns on the state and national level.

Locally in NSW, an example of Social Justice is the Stand by Me campaign to protect funding for disability advocacy. Advocacy is a key part of Social Justice, giving a voice to the voiceless and the disadvantaged is key to preserve the rights of people with disabilities. Their online petition on has already attracted over 30,800 signatures. You can sign the petition here.

Physical Disability Australia wishes you a Happy World Social Justice Day!

Jonathan Shar
St Ives, NSW


President’s Welcome

Liz Reid

My name is Liz Reid and I am the President of Physical Disability Australia and Director (NT).

It is my pleasure to welcome you to PDA’s blog’s page and it is something that I hope will grow over the coming year to be a place where we can provide information and engage with our membership.

It is somewhere that members can contribute to and to discover the submission requirements, please click here.

2018 is going to be a big year for PDA. We hope to engage with the government, NDIA and other stakeholders to promote the unique needs of people with physical disability.

PDA will continue to campaign and lobby for our members so that they may live a good life with dignity, choice and control. It will also lobby for a fair and equitable NDIS.

PDA is also committed to promoting the National Disability Strategy and encouraging both government and business to implement it.

By appointing Associate Directors, this year will see a better engagement with members and social media will be part of that. I encourage you to become members of PDA (sign-up for free here) as well as follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

2018 will also see a focus on governance and strengthening PDA as an organisation. It is important that PDA has quality internal controls in order to be a stronger organisation and can be more accountable to the needs of its members.

Finally, I wish you all the best for the coming year ahead and look forward to work on your behalf to see better outcome for people with physical disability.

Liz Reid
Durack, NT

Do you want to see your work in lights?

Welcome to the blog page of Physical Disability Australia.

Here at PDA, we’re keen to engage with our members and provide a forum for their voices to be heard. This includes allowing you to submit work for consideration and these may include a blog post, video clip or podcast.

While PDA would love to receive submissions, before you do send anything to us, please have a read of the PDA Editorial Guidelines that explains what we’re looking for and what we will accept.

If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to contact PDA’s Manager at

We look forward to hearing from you!

Simon Burchill
PDA Manager