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Four questions with IDPWD Australian Ambassador, Dr Dinesh Palipana

Disability Rights
IncludeAbility Ambassador, Dinesh Palipana

Our IncludeAbility Ambassador, Dinesh Palipana, has been named a 2021 International Day for People with Disability (IDPwD) Australian Ambassador.

Dinesh is a doctor in the Emergency Department of the Gold Coast University Hospital, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Griffith University, doctor for the Gold Coast Titans Disability Rugby League Team, and a Senior Advisor to the Disability Royal Commission. In 2021, he won the Queensland Australian of the Year Award.

We sat down (virtually!) with Dinesh to ask him four questions about employment for people with disability and the importance of International Day for People with Disability.

What has been your experience in finding and maintaining employment?

Securing employment after graduation was challenging. While domestic medical graduates are guaranteed jobs in Australia, and despite the fact I had a scholarship from Queensland Health, commencing work after graduating was difficult. Since starting work, I have faced some attitudinal barriers. However, it has become much easier as the career has progressed.

What impact has meaningful employment had on your own life?

Today, I work in the busiest Australian emergency department. I love being a doctor; it was always my dream and is now a part of my identity. The culture and people within the department have been very supportive, contributing to a positive employment experience.

Most importantly, employment has enabled me to be an advocate for people with disabilities. This has been particularly important during the pandemic, where we have spoken about the rights of people with disabilities with the spectre of healthcare rationing circulating in the world.

What are your three top tips for people with disability seeking employment?

a. Persist. Don’t take no for an answer. At the end of the day, the naysayers won’t be around. Don’t let them take control of your life.

b. Celebrate and cherish the people that support you. There are people who will fight for you expecting nothing in return. Those allies are the heroes who change the world.

c. Send the elevator back down for someone when you get upstairs. We have a responsibility to sow success and to create more leaders. That’s how we can secure an inclusive future.

The 2021 theme for IDPwD emphasises the importance of leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world. What is one way in which Australians can help work towards this goal?

Everyone has the opportunity to be a leader. A leader is a problem-solver who is primarily people-focused. They enable a group of people to achieve a goal, while ensuring that the well-being of those people are put first and foremost. 

The best leaders create other leaders. Our goal should be to enable people to live their dream, then further support them to become leaders who create leaders so others can do the same thing. 

For more information about the Commission’s IncludeAbility Project, visit our website: