Inclusion in political and public life: The experiences of people with intellectual disability on government disability advisory bodies in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Civil and political participation lies at the core of citizenship. Increasingly, people with intellectual disability are members of disability advisory bodies. This study investigated the political orientations of advisory body members with intellectual disability, their participatory experiences, and the types of support they received. METHOD: The 9 people with intellectual disability who in 2005 were members of disability advisory bodies at a state, national, and Victorian local government level were interviewed, together with 12 other members or secretariat staff of these bodies. Observations were also conducted of advisory body meetings. RESULTS: The political perspective of members with intellectual disability varied, but all had a background in self-advocacy. They found the work hard but rewarding and encountered both practical and intangible obstacles to participation. Members received varying types of practical support, but a supportive collegial milieu was characteristic among members who felt most confident about their participation. CONCLUSIONS: The milieu, structures, and processes of advisory bodies must all be adjusted to accommodate people with intellectual disability if they are to participate meaningfully.

publication date

  • March 2011