Elizabeth Hastings: Google doodle celebrates the 75th Birthday of England-born Australian disability rights advocate

Elizabeth Hastings: Google doodle celebrates the 75th Birthday of England-born Australian disability rights advocate

This Doodle honours Elizabeth Hastings, an Australian disability rights activist who was born in England. It was created by Pendar Yousefi, a guest artist from San Francisco. As a pioneering leader in the disability rights movement, Hastings dismantled barriers that kept disabled people out of society.

Hastings used aids for mobility from an early age, beginning with a device her father made, after contracting polio as a baby. With the use of this gadget, Hastings was no longer dependent on other people to get him to and from school. Her family moved to Australia when she was eight where she attended secondary school before studying psychology at the University of Melbourne.

She worked as a psychologist after graduating in 1971 until realising during a conference she spoke at in 1978 that activism was her true calling. An able-bodied person made a lengthy speech on behalf of the impaired population just before her presentation. Hastings responded by talking about how annoying it was to be treated like a child during her speech. She recognised that by fighting for the rights of those with disabilities, she could make a difference after seeing the audience members cry and hear thunderous applause.

Throughout the 1980s, Hastings spoke to many organisations across the nation about her personal experiences and recommended for laws that included people with disabilities. She helped with the planning of the 1981 International Year of the Disabled Person and was a member of other disability-related groups, such as Women With Disabilities Australia and the Victorian chapter of Disabled People’s International.

In 1993, she was appointed as the first Disability Discrimination Commissioner in the country and started about advocating and administering the new Disability Discrimination Act. The Disability Discrimination Act is a seminal piece of law that addresses issues like as public transportation standards and building restrictions, all of which significantly altered the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. She proceeded to remove obstacles for a great number of Australians while fighting against the required sterilisation of those with disability.

Hasting has spent her life educating the group she refers to as the “not-yet-disabled population” about the value of inclusion and making sure that those who are disabled have access to opportunities and full rights. Elizabeth Hastings’ legacy endures with every individual who recognises disability as a natural aspect of being human.

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