Craig Manyard's Opposition to the Captioning Exemption.

Craig has asked us to publish this. We have done so unedited .. Thanks to Craig for allowing us to publish his opposition to the exemption.

I am appalled at the report that outlined the services. On the one hand I am being told to support the exemption application because it is the best that they can come up with and while I can appreciate that Deaf Australia Inc has debated on this issue and come to realise that they must support the exemption application inorder to make roads into positive future.

As a Deaf person, we were told that in 2005 and it is now 2009 on the brink of 2010. We have 0.3 percent access to movies that are captioned.

When I look at UK and America – it astounds me to see that the proportion of captions shows and movies are way in excess that I would have to go there to see it to believe it because we have had it so bad here in Australia.

To support the exemption application are (with thanks to Kate Locke for putting it into plain English for us who are trying to understand the full documentation and was able to spell it out for us) which Australian Human Rights Commission has failed to do so in the first place).

Reasons why we need to support this exemption application:

1. The exemption will increase the number of screens in cinemas operated by the applicants capable of delivering captions to 35 over the next 2½ years

2. The exemption will provide audio description capability in all those 35 screens, including a retro-fit of the current 12 cinemas offering captioning.

3. The exemption will cause the cinemas to commit to a review of the current program in consultation with representatives from key stakeholders starting 9 months before the end of the Temporary Exemption period

4. The exemption will ensure accessible information on captioned and audio described film schedules.

5. It has taken 2 years of negotiations between MAA, DFA, DA, and cinemas to get to this point.

6. The Commission also have no way of making the industry respond in a timely manner – note how long this one has taken.

7. If this one is rejected, we get nothing in the interim, and start negotiations all over again. There is nothing to make cinemas improve access. There is no law or legislation, except the DDA. No government intervention. If they decline, people have to take them to court.

8. If AHRC reject this exemption application, there will be NO increase on current number of cinemas. The Commission does not have the power to bump up the numbers in the exemption.

9. If we reject this application, then we will go back to process of individuals having to make complaints and going through conciliation and hoping someone takes it to federal court which is not very common (so far not at all) and is difficult for Deaf groups to support these individual complaints.

10. The only way to make a rejection of this application successful is to have someone complain after its been rejected and take the complaint all the way to the Federal Court. There is currently no one willing to do that.

11. If we accept, then we can still complain about other main stream cinemas and independent cinemas – just not the 5 listed in the exemption.

12. The blindness sector is very worried about the exemption being rejected because it means they are left with nothing too (which is what they currently have).

Reasons why we need to reject this exemption application:

1. It seems to be a very pitiful, small move forward.

2. It prevents individuals from making a complaint about the cinemas for the next 2 years.

3. It could be perceived as ‘giving in’ to the cinemas, giving them time to ‘slack off’ when they could be doing more.

4. There have been around 100 submission to AHRC opposing the exemption. (DF has received 5 emails from its members opposing the exemption).

5. No real commitment to social inclusion in the proposal.

I am opposing the exemption application on the grounds that the business and the movie industries is making a mega profit and they demonstrate that they are not able to listen to the general public and the needs of the community.

We are the voice of the community. The organisations representing our best interest are not able to support what we want because they are being effectively silenced by these big organisations.

Given that in comparison to overseas such as America and England, this exemption is pitiful and is a very small movement for the future. Its not a solid plan for betterment, its about making the least investment for a huge monetary outcome which discriminates against the wider community and people with disability. It spells out that we are not infact important enough investment for the future.

The movies in place do not support majority of Deaf people, they show it on a Friday night, Sunday at 3 pm and then on Wed at 10 am. What normal people can go without their usual Friday night Deaf Club and Sunday at 3 pm is a long way to go to see a movie on a Sunday and then followed by 11 am on a Wed where majority of Deaf people are working.

These are usually in short term and usually shown approximately 1 month after first showing it.

This is a pathetic movement and it says that we are not valued as individuals and it allows them to dictate what is good for them and not take into consideration our needs and our consumer rights to have access to appropriate timing and captioning of movies in the cinema.

This is not good enough in the face of finances, how much money is made the profits that are made. Usually after a movie is shown in the cinema, most of us wait till the movie is released in DVD to purchase it and watch it a number of times to really understand. Watching a movie is a pleasurable experience for most of the general population, but for us, we need to read the captions and see a bit of the movie and the next movie we watch the movie itself and watch a bit of captions to be able to enjoy the cinematic show, then the third time is where we actually can marry the caption and the movie itself. We are into dual processing but the initial stages are separate because of our cognitive ability is only able to take one or the other… so yes it is pitiful that we must wait for approx 2.5 years and not have complaints against what is happening. They have had plenty of time to do this and investigate this more thoroughly.

I am closing my argument that this is not good enough and sending this before the 5 pm deadline that was not advertised clearly. Only just found out today.

Yours sincerely

Craig Maynard