When Dylan Alcott gives presentations, he sometimes asks the question “What’s worse than being in a wheelchair?”
Then he flashes up a picture of someone wearing that often contentious form of footwear – crocs.
Dylan is probably best known as a Paralympic gold medallist and grand slam tennis champion.
He is also a passionate advocate for people with disabilities.
For Dylan, being in a wheelchair isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person. Being hidden away and struggling for confidence and social inclusion probably is.
For the outstanding work Dylan does in speaking out for the rights of people living with disabilities I am pleased to announce he is this year’s winner of the Voltaire Human Rights Award.
Dylan Alcott has received this award for his advocacy for respect, equality and dignity of people living with disabilities.
He works tirelessly in the media and through his Foundation to change the stigma that’s still attached to disability from a “weird, unlucky ugly thing” to something that’s “commonplace”. He wants to help give young people with disabilities confidence so they will live the life the best life they can.
As Dylan points out, people with disabilities are the largest under-represented minority group in the world. One in 5 Australians live with some form of physical or intellectual disability.
Dylan, with others, recently took on the officials at the US Open. The officials made the decision to cancel the wheelchair US Open without consultation with the athletes.
"It is blatant discrimination for able-bodied people to decide on my behalf what I do with my LIFE AND CAREER just because I am disabled. Not good enough," he said.
The decision has since been reversed.
If you would like to hear from Dylan himself, please join our Voltaire Awards Webinar on Friday July 24th at 7pm.
He’s both a compelling and entertaining speaker.
Please register here to join the webinar live or to receive the recording for viewing when it suits you.
I sincerely hope you can join us on July 24th to show your support for Dylan, and for other award winners Bernard Collaery, Witness J and Dujuan Hoosan.
In case you’re concerned, Dylan assures me he won’t be wearing crocs on that night or any night for that matter.
Julian Burnside QC
President LIberty Victoria
For enquiries contact Liberty Victoria at
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 9670 6422