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Video Transcript

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Just the Ticket

BRUCE MAGUIRE: I'm a very shy person, really.

But from time to time, I find myself in a position where, in order to deal with discrimination
or lack of access, I have to be a self-advocate.

NARRATOR: When Australia secured the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Bruce Maguire shared the nation's pride
and promised his family tickets to the greatest sporting event on earth.

The Games were promoted in Australia - it was the Games for all Australians.

I'm an Australian. I have a disability.

But I'm still an Australian, so the Games are for me too.

He couldn't wait to plan which events they'd go to, but he couldn't access
the information.

This is the official Olympics ticket book.

I don't even know whether it's up the right way or not.

I rang the Sydney Organising Committee of the Olympic Games,
and I was told that there was no way that they were going to be producing a book, a ticket book, in braille.

The Olympics website wasn't accessible for people who use screen readers
or voice output, so Bruce lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Bruce's complaint grew into a heated public debate.

Australia's prejudiced attitudes were exposed.

Some of the more right-wing journalists were highly critical, saying, well, you know, "This is just the thin edge of the wedge.

"If we provide ticket books in braille, "then the next thing you know, people with claustrophobia

"will want special rooms at the Olympics where they can sit by themselves.

"It'll never end, and there's got to be limits to what we can," you know,

"what we, as a society, can provide."

Bruce was victimised, but his rights were clear under the Disability Discrimination Act.

It was constant stress. I was studying a university course.

I had to withdraw from that because I was just spending so much time on the SOCOG case.

My marriage kind of fell apart.

You know, I was dealing with barristers who were really out to discredit me and tell me I was just in it for selfish reasons.

And I felt very alone when the case had all finished, and I realised,

"Well, this 16 months of my life

"I've devoted pretty much exclusively to this."


Bruce was prepared to play his part to achieve equality for all.

I think anyone who sets out to challenge entrenched discrimination and an entrenched attitude
that says that "people with disability aren't equal with us",

I think, is going to run up against some pretty tough barriers.

Bruce won the case.

All public organisations must now provide accessible websites and information.

Everyone has the power to effect change.

Complaints under the DDA are often small things most people take for granted.

ATM: To get cash out, press 1.

NARRATOR: To ensure all banks provided accessible ATMs, blind citizens of Australia rallied.

ATM: ..balance, press 5.

Members lodged strategic complaints targeting all banks.

Their voices were heard. Because of those strategic complaints with the Human Rights Commission,
we now have a lot of talking ATMs.

Every time we take positive action to try to remove a disabling barrier
and every time we strive to change someone's discriminatory attitude, then I think we're making the world
that we leave to our children and our children's children
a more civilised and civilising place.

And for me, that's what gives meaning to life.