Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Champions of people with disability in Asia-Pacific

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas today congratulated the winners of the Asia-Pacific Disability Champions Award.

Frank Hall-Bentick from Australia, Setareki Macanawai from Fiji and Senator Monthian Buntan from Thailand were today presented their awards by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Kim Hwang-sik at a ceremony in Incheon, South Korea.

Senator Carr praised the winners’ significant work as disability rights advocates in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The winners’ collective ability to mobilise support for the rights of people with disability and build strong relationships with key stakeholders across the Asia-Pacific region, despite political, social and cultural differences, is truly inspiring,” Senator Carr said.

“Australia is committed in our aid policy to enhancing the lives of people with disability. We look forward to working closely with the Asia-Pacific disability champions to achieve better development for all in the Asia and Pacific regions.”

Senator McLucas thanked Mr Hall-Bentick on behalf of the Australian Government for his life’s work advocating for the rights of people with disability both in Australia and overseas.

“Mr Hall-Bentick played a pivotal role in the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and successfully lobbied for its ratification in Australia in 2008,” Senator McLucas said.

“This Convention now forms the basis for Australian Government policy and program developments for people with disability.

“During his more than 30 year career improving human rights for people with disability, Mr Hall-Bentick held various roles in the Equal Opportunity Unit of the Australian Public Service Board, the Disability Resources Centre and as a Disability Officer at Centrelink.

“Since retiring in 2008 he has continued to campaign for the rights of people with disability, establishing the Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples’ Education Fund which provides grants to assist people across Australia pursue their education, which in turn helps to achieve their dreams.”

Senator Carr said Mr Macanawai, CEO of the Pacific Disability Forum and a member of AusAID’s Disability Inclusive Development Reference Group, is a crucial partner of the Australian aid program.

“Mr Macanawai has played an instrumental role in the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights for persons with disabilities, particularly in the Pacific region. He helped shape Australia’s disability inclusive development policy Development for All,” Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr also commended Senator Buntan for his role also as a member of AusAID’s Disability Inclusive Development Reference Group and as a strong advocate for the rights of people with disability in the Asia and Pacific region.

A total of 10 winners from the Asia-Pacific region were selected for the awards.

The Asia-Pacific Disability Champions Award recognises individuals with an exceptional record of mobilising support and championing for the rights of people with disability in the Asia-Pacific region.