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150 Years of Universal Education in Australia: Progress made & remaining challenges for students with disability

2022 marked two significant anniversaries for Australian education:

  • 150 years since the first public education system was first created through Victoria’s Free, Fair and Secular Education Act 1872, and
  • 30 years since the educational rights of students with disability were legislated through Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

These movements were motivated by overwhelming evidence of systemic inequity and affirmed a bold vision of a fairer society for all Australians, aspiring to address structural inequalities arising from poverty or disability. Australia as a nation has also reaffirmed its commitment to a fairer and more equitable society by protecting the rights of all students to access a high-quality and inclusive education.

In honour of these two anniversaries, a panel of leading academics in the field, students, educators and advocates examined the progress made and the remaining challenges to overcome so a better society can be obtained through universal access to an inclusive education for all students.

The Chair for this event was Graeme Innes (AM), a human rights advocate and Australia's former Disability Discrimination Commissioner (December 2005 to July 2014).


  • Graeme Innes (AM), Lawyer, author, and company director
  • Dr Kate De Bruin, Senior Lecturer in Inclusive Education, Monash Education
  • Professor Suzanne Carrington, The Centre for Inclusive Education, Queensland University of Technology
  • Sarah Asome, Acting Principal, Bentleigh West Primary School
  • Sam Brain, Associate Director Financial Advisory, Deloitte Australia
  • Gi Brown, Youth Ambassador, Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA)

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