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October 16, 2017 | by  | in Token Cripple |
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Token Cripple

While I was interested in the return of the Special Votes I was disappointed by the result. And while openly left wing and a Green Party member, my disappointment was not so much partisan as it was to do with being disabled. The final vote count saw Mojo Mathers lose her seat in Parliament.

Mojo has done work across multiple portfolios and her motivation to enter parliament came from being an environmental advocate rather than through disability politics.

Indeed, given the sometimes uneasy relationship between the deaf and disabled communities, she has likely found herself as an advocate for more than one minority community with conflicting views despite some common ground.

However, I cannot overstate the significance of seeing someone with impairments working at a national level for the rights of disabled people. Someone who was always open to engaging with the community and highly conscious of the link back to the people she represented.

It felt validating and has been a key part of bringing to the table accessibility within parliament.

The Disabled Persons Assembly ranked the Green Party as the party who focused on disability rights the most. While I don’t doubt there are individual disability advocates across the political spectrum, I am wary of what will happen without a truly visible advocate. I am wary of disability rights once again becoming something worked on behind the scenes and at worst a “nice to have.”

The challenge now for the Green Party will be to continue in this vein. To be loud, proud, and  visible doing this work. The challenge to Parliament as a whole will be to not let accessibility fall by the wayside.

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