Robyn Perham 2879 Views

Several decades of activism and we are still waiting for equality.

My name is ROBYN PERHAM (formerly GOBERT,) and I am now working as a Director (Administration and Personnel) for MPMS P/L. I am living on Lake Learmonth, in western, rural Victoria.

Most recently I've been appearing in The Courier, drawing attention to the many access deficits in the Ballarat region. I'm currently working to convince the Ballarat City Council that we should be the absolute home of democracy by becoming Australia's most accessible destination. And winning!

In 2010 I performed an audit of the Monarto Zoo and Adelaide Zoo in SA with great outcomes. Works are being addressed.

In (early) 2009 I had input to the Fed Governments' Access All Areas initiative. It is the draft disability access to premises/buildings document/book.

In 2007 I retired from sitting on the Victorian COTA National Seniors Policy Advisory Board, representing disability and discrimination in all of their 16 portfolios.

In July of 2005 I was a speaker at the 2nd ACROD Conference on Disability and Ageing "Power, Passion and Practice" held in Hobart, Tasmania, addressing access.

On 7th October 2005, the Mayor of Ballarat gave me a Mayoral Reception, at which time I was presented with a 24c gold, Civic Medal in appreciation of my contributions (disability and social) to the communities of rural Victoria and the City of Ballarat. - At that time I was HRH Queen Pippie Long Stockings, The Empress of Excess - and had founded the Ballarat Red Hat's Society.

The Red Hat Society is seen as fulfilling a civic need within the 5 rural communities in which I've founded chapters, and my local disability access work (better usability of Her Majesties theatre, access to and within shops and added disability parking spaces around Ballarat) was also recognised.

On 19th April I participated in an Insight Program on SBS, with the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello about disability within ageing, asking how we are to access the community to get into the workforce if governments don't remove the disincentives re employment.

I am a member of People With Disabilities, Australia and a past member of the Grampians Disability Advocacy Association. I am also a past member of the Australian Consultants in Access.

In Atherton in 2000 I taught the first formal ADVOCACY course at TAFE.

Over the past thirty years I have achieved success as a Newspaper Columnist, writing the only disability column in a newspaper in Oz at that time, with a weekly readership in excess of 45,000 and I have worked extensively as a Disability Access Consultant (my company was called Barrier-free Lifestyles), an Advocate and Activist for disability access across the nation.

Due to pain in all of my joints from arthritis over the past 14 years, I often used a wheelchair, and I am now confined to same.

During my 35 years of public life, I have been the recipient of a number of awards.

In 1999 the Queensland Government awarded me their Individual's Award for Excellence for "years of outstanding disability related Advocacy and Volunteerism".

In August 2000 I was recognised on the John Laws national television show, through FOXTEL, as one of five Australian Unsung Heroes, and my ten minute segment went to air in August of that year.

In 1990 I founded and incorporated the Queensland-wide support network for sufferers of GBS and CIDP(GBS & CIDP Support Network Queensland Inc) after my husband had almost died of CIDP, which was then considered to be a "mystery illness". We formed the network to create much needed awareness after we realised people were being misdiagnosed and the wrong treatment was often implemented. The condition is now readily recognised and lives are being saved.

In 1980 I founded the D.E.B.R.A.-Australia and undertook to raise funds to instigate medical research into the rare skin condition epidermolysis bullosa of which I'm a sufferer. and see Robyn's Story.

In 2006 I received notification that I had been nominated for Australian and the year.

In 1979 I won a Scotties competition and was recognised as Townsville's' Citizen of the Year for my community activities. I undertook a disability awareness-raising campaign tour throughout north Queensland, speaking to service clubs etc and raising funds for the DEBRA - Australia. Science has recently found a cure for Dystrophic EB!!!

During that period I was the subject of many radio interviews and television programs, some of which have included The Mike Walsh Show (twice), ABC's Nationwide and Today Tonight as well as appearing as a guest on a significant number of regional TV programs. I have been interviewed for innumerable newspaper and magazine articles, including an article in New IdeaTake 5 and twice for That's Life!

I have been a passionate theatre goer and thespian for 30 years. I have been a playwright/director and in addition I've written five plays, directed them and had them successfully performed. I've also had a radio play broadcast and I've successfully undertaken the writing/performance/airing of radio advertising.

As well as writing extensively for the web - (travel articles and information on disability discrimination and access), I've catalogued a wealth of information for those who'd care to type my former name (ROBYN GOBERT) into any search engine. 

You may care to begin with: March 2002 - Your Corner: "Cotton Wool Baby ... 

... Robyn Gobert is a well-known disability rights advocate and columnist in Australia. She has received many awards from government and disability advocacy groups, ...? March-April2002/corner3.html Everything you will need to know you should find there. Thanking you.

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Robyn Perham

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