ABSTRACT

The Australian disability rights movement was difficult to locate because a confusing, seemingly inconsistent picture of the movement was initially located. Internationally, the 1970s brought an awakening in the disability rights field. Social Role Valorisation was beginning to revolutionise disability services, leading to an international reassessment of disability service provision and providing some impetus for deinstitutionalisation. The International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP) encouraged new understandings of disability and posited lofty goals. The Australian disability rights movement emerged as a result of the IYDP, an official human rights event which was endorsed at international and national levels. Disability issues were suddenly on the Federal Government's agenda, including the acceleration of deinstitutionalisation. There was also an increasing awareness of the negative consequences of medicalising disability, and calls for a focus on participation and inclusion, rather than paternal, custodial models of care.