International White Cane Day
It has been revealed that over 70 per cent of Australian white cane users are put in danger by 'everyday' objects.* Common objects like cars parked across driveways, bins left out on footpaths, dumped bikes or scooters, and even people being distracted by mobile devices can impact the freedom and independence of people with low vision or blindness.
On International White Cane Day (15 October), Guide Dogs Australia is focusing on how everyone can take simple steps to create a safer and more accessible environment for all, especially as communities re-open after extended periods of COVID-19 lockdowns. Our 'Keep Clear and Carry On' campaign highlights the very real impact these 'everyday' objects can have on people living with low vision and blindness - causing them to feel anxious, unsafe and in danger when travelling. This can add to someone's travel time, change daily routines or even cause some people to withdraw from going about day-to-day life.
Everyone has been doing a fantastic job to support one another during the pandemic, including our more vulnerable communities. However, our Clients tell us there are still some simple ways we can make our streets more accessible for people with low vision or blindness.
Move your bin off the footpath, don't dump bikes and scooters in public spaces, pop your café chair back under the table before you move off, look up from your mobile phone while you're out and about or call your local council to report issues such as unsafe footpaths or fallen or overgrown branches.
White canes are designed to maximise independence and mobility, so this year we want to bring to light the barriers preventing this and raise awareness, so white cane users can carry on with reaching their independent goals.
TOP TIPS for keeping the streets neat:
- Ensure your car is not parked over the footpath.
- Move objects like bins off footpaths.
- Keep footpaths near cafes and businesses clear of stray chairs or other objects.
- Keep footpaths clear by cutting back overhanging plants from your property.
- Avoid using your mobile device while walking in public - for your safety too!
- Don't leave things like rentable bikes or scooters in public spaces.
- Report issues like fallen tree branches and unsafe footpaths to your local council.
*Guide Dogs Australia International White Cane Day Survey 2021.
Dale Cleaver, CEO at Guide Dogs NSW/ACT
Here we are within weeks of the Glasgow Climate Conference, hailed by many world leaders as being the most important climate conference ever held, and still our Prime Minister Scott Morris is yet to advise whether he will be an attendee at the Conference.
The Federal Coalition Government's present standing in relation to climate change and the Glasgow Climate Conference appears to be one of division and uncertainty with PM Scott Morrison and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce seeming to be frantically making last minute decisions about matters that are essential to decide upon prior to the Conference. A very poor showing by our Federal Coalition Government-not good enough.
Brian Measday, Myrtle Bank South Australia
Code of Conduct
Does Labor follow its own ethics and conduct codes?What does Labor believe about internal party ethics and conduct? What'll they tolerate from MPs, for how long?Sitting Labor MP Byrne admitted manipulating membership to predetermine pre-selection results ... in other words, branch stacking. While not illegal, branch stacking violates ALP rules. It's "embarrassing" [former-Opposition Leader Shorten]; "It's not appropriate to pre-empt their [IBACVictoria] findings" [current-Opposition Leader Albanese]. So Albanese avoids taking action against Byrne for self-admittedly inappropriate behaviours spanning several years. Both branch stacking and related coercive behaviours grossly violate the APS Code of Conduct. [apsc.gov.au ] "[B]ehave honestly and with integrity ... act with care and diligence ... treat everyone with respect and courtesy, and without harassment ... ": that's just the first three items! Sanctions for such violations range from "(f) a reprimand" to "(a) termination of employment." For now, Albanese chooses to do nothing. NOTHING. Byrne *admitted* wrong-doing: branch stacking, coercion. Albanese needs nothing more to take action. I suggest that until ALP leadership holds Byrne accountable, no ALP member is entitled to complain about ethics and conduct of any other party member. With an election coming and all concomitant dancing, jostling, and positioning, we'll soon see whether or not Labor is a party of ethics and good conduct. What'll it be, Albanese?
Judy Bamberger, O'Connor ACT