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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 August 2015) . . Page.. 2542 ..

A vocational course gives you a communication ability, and it covers things like deaf culture, deaf history, the syntax, the grammar and the study of linguistics—not how to order a beer, a pizza or a cup of coffee in another language. How out of touch is the CIT with the deaf community? On the CIT website they have a picture of American sign language. Not Australian sign language, not Auslan; their picture is of American sign language. They obviously do not even know the difference between American sign language and Australian sign language.

I will give another example from their own website about the CIT Solutions course. It says, “Practice your signing with a hearing impaired person.” Excuse me, Madam Speaker, but you do not actually sign with a hearing impaired person. A hearing impaired person or, as you would probably say if you were being a bit more correct, a person with a hearing impairment, probably has a hearing aid or a cochlear implant and they use their own voice and their hearing as much as they can to communicate. They do not use sign language.

My father, who has a hearing impairment through occupational noise, from working on aircraft engines and shooting, wears a hearing aid. He does not know sign language. If someone came and practiced their signing with him, he would have no idea what they were doing. It would be about as useful as that interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

These are just a few examples of how out of touch the government are with the deaf community. They have no idea of what is required to communicate. And you should not just take my word for it. In the disability community they have a bit of a saying, which is, “Nothing about us without us.” I am not here to tell you my views about it. I am here to read a whole lot of comments that I have received from people in the deaf community in the ACT about it. I will go through a few. I probably will not get through them all in 10 minutes as there are so many. Here is one:

12 hours is not enough in my own opinion. It takes a lot of time to master a language. It is not like you are learning a French language. 12 hours of French language will get you a sentence or two. Auslan learning definitely needs more than just 12 hours. It is a language that needs a lot of investing in.

The next one:

What the? I needed more than six hours each week just to get through it. No way is a total of 12 hours enough. There would be no time to teach deaf history and linguistics, that’s for sure. Without teaching that, what’s the point? That’s my two bob.


It took me more like 60 hours to get my certificate I, and I certainly wasn’t conversationally fluent at the end of that semester. They are completely wrong. They might have the misconception that Auslan is not a real language, but it is, and 12 hours for a certificate course is not even close to enough.

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