Deaf Australia's Letter

Hello everyone, We at Deaf Australia understand that many people are unhappy about the cinemas application for an exemption from complaints while they work on increasing the number of cinemas from 12 to 35. We are very frustrated with the cinemas too. We have been working for many years to get the cinemas to improve things. Not just the number of cinemas but other things like the types of films, the number of times a film is screened, better advertising etc. Our submission to the AHRC about the exemption application is at Our submission explains that after all the years of work we have done to try to get the cinemas to do more, we believe the cinemas just won’t do anything unless they are given a temporary exemption that locks them into doing something. It says that if the AHRC gives the cinemas an exemption, we want them to also give them very strict conditions to force the cinemas to fix thing other things as well, not just the number of cinemas with captions. More than 200 people have told AHRC they object to the exemption application. Some of them are members of Deaf Australia. Most are not members. We understand that many of our members support what we are trying to do. Some members have helped us with our work in the past by sending in formal complaints to AHRC against their local cinema. In the last few years we encouraged our members to put in formal complaints to AHRC against their local cinema, and we represented members and helped them negotiate their complaints. A few were successful. Most of the time the cinemas just refused to do anything. This meant the only option our members had was to go to the Federal Court. We understand why members haven’t wanted to do that. If you really want to make a difference and support the work that Deaf Australia, Media Access Australia and Deafness Forum are trying to do for all Deaf and hard of hearing people (not just our members, everyone benefits from our work) then the best way to do that is to send in a formal complaint against your local cinema. And do it now. Deaf Australia is currently representing 2 new complaints that people have sent in against their local cinemas. 200 formal complaints against 200 local cinemas that the cinemas have to answer and negotiate will have a much bigger impact than a public march. To make a formal complaint against your cinema, you can use the complaint form on the AHRC website at Or write a letter to Your complaint must give the name and address of your local cinema, your name and address, and state that the cinema does not show captioned films and so you believe your are being discriminated against. Do it now – this week – before the AHRC makes a decision on the cinemas exemption application. This is what will help us achieve what we are trying to achieve. Thanks. And have a happy Christmas everyone.

Karen Lloyd Deaf Australia Executive Officer

Hey all .. we still think that the exemption should be oppossed but there are two sides to every argument. We agree with Deaf Australia … COMPLAIN NOW!!!!! Lodge your complaint here:

7 thoughts on “Deaf Australia's Letter

  1. Hi Gary and Karen,
    I’m not emailing to complain here, more to comment. 😉

    Well over 200 people made submissions but it wasn’t all deaf people ; without counting I would estimate about half were. The rest were from mainstream Australians shocked to find out this is going on and from blind and vision impaired people who are in an even worse situation than us. They are hardly getting any access to movies through audio description though it is apparently really well provided for in other countries.

    I’m a bit worried about the suggestion that deaf/ HI people make individual DDA complaints. I’ve made a few myself and it was a lonely, hard thing to do each time, even though all 3 complaints were resolved at conciliation. As you say people haven’t had a lot of luck with this complaint process when they have decided to make individual complaints. If cinemas decide to fight they can outgun deaf people because they are wealthy and powerful while most of us are not.

    My worry about the suggestion to do individual complaints is that this past fortnight has been great for the morale of deaf and hearing impaired people. People who aren’t used to complaining took the time to think about this and decided to say no. Everyone, including me, is feeling better for it. I’d prefer to see some ideas that keep us together as a group of people who all want the same thing.

    I would like to see ideas that bring what is happening to us into the public spotlight because harnessing public opinion is going to help us win this. If we start splintering off into people fighting alone we will lose the power we have right now. If that happens we may lose the will to keep fighting.

    My prediction is that, because of the submissions, the AHRC is likely to refuse the request for an exemption from the DDA. If this happens I think it will bring matters to a head with the cinemas. Even if the exemption is granted, and we lose our DDA rights for 2.5 years, we still have a problem.

    Here in Victoria there is going to be a meeting to try and bring all the various opinions together on this. It is at Vicdeaf between 7-9pm next Wednesday. I think it’ll be a great opportunity to brainstorm about how we respond to whatever comes next. Hopefully someone from Deaf Australia can come along too as I think it is really important that whatever we do, we do it together so we stay strong.

    • Karen .. by and large I agree with you but think everyone should complain to AHRC so it is right in their faces every minute of the day. We all know what i think about the DDA and but in this case the ebergy needs bto be maintained. I fully agree also we need to make people aware, use the media, embarrass the cinemas .. let the whole world know what a crock of shit the offer is.
      I also think our organisations need to look at how they communicate with us all. Why is it only now we are being asked to communicate on behalf of DA. I am happy to do it through The Rebuttal its a worthy cause but feel everything is happening a little too late.
      Nevertheless the way we are all banding together om this is inspiring

  2. We seem to have a role reversal here as I can can remember you saying that earlier, and me advocating for DDA complaints. 🙂
    I think we agree tho that we need to keep the energy up until we get the captioning improved, so if writing individual complaints does that, that’s great.

    Are you coming on Wednesday? It’s at Vicdeaf so maybe if it is too far they could use video conferencing – I suppose this has already been thought of though ? I’ve asked if they can provide some real time captioning too as, if there are a few people there and people get involved discussing ideas, I’ll probably get lost otherwise.

    • Not really a role change Karen .. more of a horses for Courses approach … the DDA in Australia still stinks 🙂

      Will be attending the meeting in person and have contacted Art Access abour rge real time captioning. Hopefully it can be done. it just wouldnt be the done thing to be anti discriminatory and discriminate would it 🙂

      • News just in is that Arts Access Victoria have had a couple of requests for Real Time Captioning. They are doing all they can to get it set up. The fact that this meeting was set up at short notice has created a few logistical problems for this but they are doing all they can. Will update you as I hear more.

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