I have decided to step aside as President of PWDA a few months before my term ends in November.
This will enable me to focus on two really important campaign roles in the ACT leading into our election here as well as continue to support family members as we settle my fathers affairs following his passing several weeks ago.
A ballot will be held for the position of A/g President of PWDA on Saturday. That will be an open ballot however I will be voting for Bonnie Millen who has energy, ambition and a desire to deliver renewal to our Board. A full election will be held in October.
I have always said that leadership in the disability rights movement is an earned privilege that should not be carried as a burden. Disabled people deserve committed leaders whose hearts and minds are on the job and who are ambitious to serve. When that stops it is time to make way.
It’s five years since I came back onto the executive of PWDA and four years since I had the honour of being elected President.
In that time we played a pivotal part in the debate on funding for the NDIS, opened up our membership online, built our media profile, established ourselves as a national peak, made strides to uncover the shocking abuse of our kind and fought off a tranche of attacks on people on DSP.
There is more to do to fully entrench PWDA as a truly consumer directed, rights based leader of our movement but we have made headway and I’m proud of the Board and staff who worked so hard on it all – you all know who you are. Our movement – regardless of organisations – has come so far over the last few years. The future is ours if we want it.
I thank you all for your trust and the privilege of holding a position of leadership in our community. Our online network is like gold and I adore all of you who battle the treacle thick tide of bad attitudes and discrimination we face every day.
I will always be loyal to PWDA which has provided me with so many opportunities and which, along with our alliance partners, is the best hope for a progressive united democratic voice for disabled people in Australia. It’s been wonderful and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
My attitude to former leaders is that their role is to be loyal silent servants to those who come after them, so I will be making some comments and reflections over the next few weeks and then stepping back from media commentary on national disability issues for a while.
Going forward I’m willing to work in a professional capacity to assist PWDA and our Alliance partners in any way I can should this be required.
My thanks to all of those around Australia who supported & engaged with our work on disability rights over the past several years.
Keep up the good fight – you ARE making a difference and changing Australia for the better,
Craig Wallace is a marketing manager and project coordinator with Nican a national community organisation and has been a community leader with various organisations for more than a decade. He is the President of People with Disability Australia, a leading cross disability rights organisation in Australia and is a member of the ACT BLITS business group.