What is advocacy?
Advocacy is speaking, acting and writing, with minimal conflict of interest, on behalf of the sincerely perceived interests of a disadvantaged person or group to promote, protect and defend their welfare and justice by:
- Being on their side and no-one else’s
- Being primarily concerned with their fundamental needs
- Remaining loyal and accountable to them in a way which is emphatic and vigorous and which is, or is likely to be, costly to the advocate or advocacy group
What are the different types of advocacy?
- Citizen Advocacy
- Individual Advocacy
- Parent Advocacy
- Systems Advocacy
Our advocacy practices provide both individual and systems advocacy.
What is individual advocacy?
This form of advocacy is one-on-one support for an individual who, for whatever reason, has difficulty speaking up for themselves. Individual advocacy can be for a specific purpose or general support for particularly vulnerable people.
Queensland Advocacy’s individual advocacy services each provide support for a specific purpose and do not offer general advocacy. Most of our individual advocacy is provided on a short-term basis to give advice and support to resolve a particular issue. On occasion we will provide support on an ongoing basis, for example to see a client through to the end of a long resolution process.
What is systems advocacy?
This form of advocacy is primarily concerned with influencing and changing the system (legislation, policy, and practices) in ways that will benefit people with a disability as a group within society. Systems advocates will encourage changes to the law, government and service policies and community attitudes.
Queensland Advocacy has an exemplary track record of effective systems advocacy, with thirty years’ experience advocating for systems change, through campaigns directed to attitudinal, law and policy reform and by supporting the development of a range of advocacy initiatives in this state.
Our understanding and prioritisation of systemic issues is guided by the wisdom and lived experience of our board, a majority of whom are persons with disability. Our extensive experience providing individual advocacy across a range of key areas also informs our understanding, and prioritisation, of systemic advocacy issues.
History of QAI
Established in 1987 by a small group of passionate Queenslanders with and parents of people with disability, QAI is an independent not-for-profit advocacy organisation and specialist community legal centre for people with disability. We are first and foremost a systems advocacy organisation focused on changing attitudes and policy to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people with disability.
We started with a small team of three staff and a Management Committee run by a majority of people with disability and have always been an organisation that champions the expression nothing about us, without us.
For many years, our efforts were focused on systemic changes, writing submissions, running campaigns and projects, all in the pursuit of a more inclusive and equal society for people of all abilities. Alongside these efforts we offered individual advocacy on a small scale, providing one part-time advocate into the mid-2000s.
In 2008, we received funding from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) to launch our Human Rights Legal Service and Justice Support Program. Two years later, our Mental Health Legal Service was established, and for almost a decade, our individual advocacy was provided through these three vital services.
In 2017 when the NDIS rolled-out in Queensland, we received funding from the Department of Social Services (DSS) to provide NDIS appeals advocacy. We then received further funding in 2018 to start an additional pilot program to advocate for people with limited support networks who need decision-making support around the NDIS.
After the Disability Royal Commission was established in 2019, we were funded to provide advocacy for people seeking to engage with the Commission. Then in 2020, we received funding from the Department of Education and Training (DET) to establish a much-needed Education Advocacy Service for children with disability in the public school system. In the same year, we also started our Social Work Service with COVID-19 funding from DJAG, as an internal allied service to support the most vulnerable clients of our Human Rights Legal Service.
Having grown immensely since 1987, we are now an accredited community legal centre, have accredited Economic and Social Council status with the United Nations and run eight individual legal and non-legal advocacy services with around 30 staff. In 2020, QAI became the first organisation in Queensland to voluntarily opt-in to be bound by the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld). In the face of our expansion, we have worked hard to ensure our systems advocacy remains at the core of our organisation and we are now not only guided and informed by the wisdom and lived experiences of our Management Committee, but of our many individual clients as well.
Queensland Advocacy’s mission is to promote, protect and defend, through advocacy, the fundamental needs and rights and lives of the most vulnerable people with disability in Queensland.
At Queensland Advocacy, we believe that all human beings are equally important, unique and of intrinsic value. Everyone should be seen and valued as a whole person, first and foremost. The human condition is such that societies tend to devalue those who do not fit within their models of perfection. These groups, including people with disability, are socially marginalised. As an organisation we seek to bring about a common vision where all human beings are equally valued.
Queensland Advocacy is an independent organisation which is largely funded by state and federal government departments.
Queensland Advocacy is a not-for-profit organisation and appreciates all ongoing and one-off donations, as they further enable us to fight for the lives of people with disability.
Careers at QAI
Interested in jobs, volunteering or placements?
There are currently no job openings.
Professionals: Welcome to apply.
Students: Current programs are full but we are welcoming applications to keep on file for the next intake.
Current placements are full but we are welcoming applications to keep on file for the next intake.
If you have any questions about the opportunities we offer students and volunteers, contact us using the form below.
Become a Member
We are proud of what have been able to achieve and we could not have done this without the support of our members!
What is a Queensland Advocacy membership?
As a member of Queensland Advocacy, you will receive our newsletters, notifications about current work, media releases and invitations to upcoming events.
Our systems advocacy team regularly write submissions on various topics and these are uploaded to our website as well as through social media in Twitter and Facebook.
Monday to Friday: 9:00am to 4:30pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed
Queensland Advocacy Incorporated
Level 2, South Central
43 Peel Street
South Brisbane QLD 4101
(Entry from Merivale St)
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