Thill, C. (2014). Listening for policy change: How the voices of disabled people shaped Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme. Disability and Society, Early View (Online First).
Voice has become an important yet ambivalent tool for the recognition of disability. The transformative potential of voice is dependent on a political commitment to listening to disabled people. To focus on listening redirects accountability for social change from disabled people to the ableist norms, institutions and practices that structure which voices can be heard in policy debates. In this paper, I use disability theory on voice and political theory on listening to examine policy documents for the National Disability Insurance Scheme in light of claims made by the disability movement. Although my study finds some evidence of openness in the policy development stage, the scheme falls short of valuing the diverse voices of disabled people as partners in shared dialogue.
disability, voice, listening, intersectionality