It's Gone Crazy! – By Gary Kerridge.

We swore that was it! We swore that The Rebuttal had ran its course. But things have just gone crazy, daft even. On top of that we received such wonderful feedback from readers that wanted The Rebuttal to continue that we thought we should give it another shot. Michael Clarkson from NSW said, ” Why does it have to close? It’s a great source of information for all to be empowered by the issues facing deaf people today. It’s a great anchor point for lobbying and consultation. Auld Lang Syne The Rebuttal.”  Debra Gormley concurred, ” Why does it have to close…. Can’t it stay open!…. there is great information on it…. Please don’t close the information…” Shirley Stott Despoja, a great supporter, be-moaned the impending closure, ” I can’t believe The Rebuttal is to fade away. Can’t you find someone to take it over. It was a great little activist magazine. So sorry.” Faced with such obvious respect for our little rag we decided to keep it open.

Apart from that the Deaf Sector has gone crazy. Loyal readers will recall that the very first Rebuttal discussed the need to be proactive in recruiting deaf people into positions within the Deaf sector. Rather than be proactive the sector has gone into the negative. I have to be honest I was miffed to miss out on the CEO job at Deafness Forum. Feedback I received was that they employed someone who could bring money into the organisation. Knowledge, and deep knowledge of deafness and the disability sector came to nothing. Money talks despite having, “blown them away” in the interview. Either I am being patronised or something is seriously wrong. Particularly when a bit of research will show that the previous organisation that the incumbent headed folded or came close to folding because it was unable to attract members or Government funding.

Over in Adelaide deaf workers have been given the chop at Can Do 4 Kids. Positions were made redundant because of apparent, ” Cuts in government funding.” In good faith the decision was accepted by the deaf people concerned only to find a month or so later that their positions had been re-advertised under the title of PATHWAYS Workers, and at a much lower pay-rate it seems. Bad form indeed that reeks of an organisation, and a quite rich one at that, seeking to penny pinch.

Just up the road in Adelaide strange things are happening at Deaf Can Do. Firstly there is some turmoil about the loss of their Board of Management. It seems that there will now only be one Board of Management that will be under Townsend House. This seemingly means that Deaf Can Do, which is the very old and historic Royal South Australian Deaf Society, has lost its autonomy and is at the mercy of The Townsend House Board of Management. A Board that is full of Doctors, accountants and seemingly only one real Deaf sector rep in lawyer Kevin Jolly. It seems that the Deaf Can Do Board has yet to be wound up and is in turmoil with the sacking of one of its Deaf Board members, allegedly without the consultation of other Board members. This is all second hand information but if true it would seem this once proud organisation is in an absolute mess. Making Deaf staff redundant at the parent organisation, sacking Deaf Board members, one wonders why Deaf is in their title at all. Suffice to say that the South Australian Deaf Community has become so worried that they have set up their own committee titled The Concerned Deaf Group.

And there is more. The Captioning Advisory Group established to oversee the introduction of Captiview captioning devices into cinemas has stopped meeting altogether and appears to have no strategy to properly evaluate the Captiview system. To date Captiview appears to have received mixed reviews. Deaf people had a cautious view of the introduction of the system preferring to see if deaf people were comfortable with it before it was introduced en-mass. They were completely ignored and we, the paying customer, will be lumped with the system whether we like it or not. Media Access Australia went as far as reviewing the system themselves and producing an article on their website. But the person doing the review was a hearing person!!!! Make sense of that if you will. We invite readers to write in and tell us what they think of the system – we promise to print the good and the BAD!

It doesn’t end there. Deafness Forum recently invited its members to comment on their submission to the Disability Discrimination Act Education Standards Review. This is one of the more important reviews to impact on the disability sector in recent years. They produced the paper and gave members just 3 days to comment. Simply bad form. The correct process is to consult with members beforehand and produce a paper based on their views. Not only did Deafness Forum get the process back to front they gave their members a ridiculous time-frame to respond. Not good enough!

So we are back. I will be taking very much a backseat in the new Rebuttal. I have had my time its now over to the new guard. Marnie Kerridge will now be the chief in charge. Let us know what bothers you whether its Captiview, the education sector, deaf sector organisations or the more recent and rapid introduction of the Ai Media Classroom Captioning. The latter is apparently the next big thing but feedback we received of its use at a recent seminar at Macquarie University suggested that there was often a big time delay of up to seven seconds. It would seem to have a long way to go until its the next big thing. We are keen to hear other peoples experience of the system so we can provide an honest appraisal of its effectiveness. Lets get Rebutting, its over to you!