YOU too can be an advocate!

Jim Simpson, Shu Hua Chan

People come to the ASID conference because they have a passion for the rights of people with intellectual disability. Some of you are researchers who would like to see action on your research. Some are family members who want a better world for your relative with intellectual disability. Some are service providers. Some are people with intellectual disability yourselves. Recent campaigns of Council for Intellectual Disability highlight how many people would like to fight for social change but are not sure where to start or how to go about things like lobbying your local member of parliament.

In this workshop, we will help you develop some advocacy skills to do things like argue for action with a senior bureaucrat or your local member.

Skills that we will talk with you about include being clear on the aim of a meeting with a decision maker, how to get the meeting and how to make the most of the meeting.

We will also talk about the benefits of a delegation including a person with intellectual disability and/or a family member and how you can then jointly prepare and press your case with a decision-maker.


Jim Simpson is a lawyer and advocate who has worked in the disability field for 35 years. He took a central role in establishing the Intellectual Disability Rights Service in Sydney. He is a Senior Member on the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and does systemic advocacy work for the Council for Intellectual Disability. He is a member of the Intellectual Disability Reference Group of the National Disability Insurance Agency. Jim has had a leading role in many areas of service system and legislative reform including well supported alternatives to gaol for offenders with intellectual disability and legislation covering guardianship, disability services and independent complaints and monitoring bodies. In recent years, Jim’s work has particularly focused on improved health care for people with intellectual disability and the development and implementation of the NDIS. Jim is a recipient of the Justice Medal of the NSW Law and Justice Foundation.

Shu Hua Chan is a long term board member and the current the Chairperson of the Council for Intellectual Disability. She is passionate about speaking up and sharing the stories of people with intellectual disability to make good changes happen. Shu thinks that people with intellectual disability have a lot to teach you if you give them a chance and listen to what they have to say. She believes it vital to hear from people with CALD backgrounds in the disability space and to make information accessible for everyone. Recently she has been focusing on the health of people with intellectual disability. She is the face of the Council for Intellectual Disability’s Our Health Counts campaign and has been speaking to the media and senior politicians about the dire health situation of people with intellectual disability. Apart from her advocacy and board work Shu also works part time at the Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW.

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