9 Mar 2012

Deaf MP granted funding for support in House

6:05 pm on 9 March 2012

The Speaker of the House has agreed that assistance to deaf Green MP Mojo Mathers will come out of Parliamentary Service funding.

Ms Mathers says it is the right decision, and it takes time for others to undertand what real inclusion for the disabled means.

The Green Party has been in dispute with Speaker Lockwood Smith about whether Parliament or the party should pay for the services Ms Mathers needs in order to follow what is happening in the debating chamber.

Dr Smith had agreed to have his office temporarily pay for the $20,000- $30,000 for note-takers.

He is now now directing that the money come from Parliamentary Service - the agency that pays for all services to Parliament.

It will come out of the agency's $67 million fund for administrative staff.

Ms Mathers says it is the right decision and that it means aspiring MPs with a disability or hearing impairment can run for Parliament, confident they will get the support they need.

Ms Mathers is also welcoming Dr Smith's commitment to developing a captioning service to make proceedings of the House more accessible to those with impaired hearing.

On Wednesday, Dr Smith met the body made up of parties represented in Parliament - the Parliamentary Service Commission - in an attempt to resolve the issue.

However, he failed to persuade them to agree that funding should out of another Parliamentary Service budget - the $42 million used for supporting MPs.

Dr Smith says this means that he'll have to re-negotiate each time a similar funding request comes up.