Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Passing of Anne McDonald

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

We mourn the passing of Anne McDonald, an author and advocate for people with disability.

Her death in Melbourne on Friday is a sad loss for the disability community and all Australians.

Born with severe cerebral palsy and unable to walk, talk or feed herself, Ms McDonald spent 14 years in a state institution after she was wrongly diagnosed.

With the aid of disability advocate Rosemary Crossley, Ms McDonald eventually learned to communicate and when she turned 18 she went to court to win her freedom from the institution.

She co-authored the best-selling book about her struggle, Annie’s Coming Out, which was later made into an award winning Australian movie.

Ms McDonald also completed a degree in humanities, becoming one of the first people with severe cerebral palsy and no speech to obtain a university degree in Australia.

She dedicated her life to advocating for the rights of people who can not talk and was recognised for her efforts with the National Disability Award for Personal Achievement in 2008.

Ms McDonald was a pioneer in the field of disability rights, courageously taking on landmark legal battles that have changed the face of disability law both in Victoria and across Australia.

She also published articles and gave presentations at conferences around the world, sharing her inspirational story with others.

Today our thoughts are with her family and friends, as we mourn the passing of a truly amazing Australian.