Graham Clements

A portrait photo of Graham Clements
Graham Clements

I have fought bushfires racing up the hills around Heyfield. I have scheduled television commercials in freezing Ballarat. I have even tossed bean sprouts in a shed in Sydney. I now live in rural Victoria where I write science fiction. Literature, science, technology, the environment and gardening are some of my many interests.


Graham Clements's articles

Two robots facing each other.
The robots can smile, and also blush.

The robots smile and can even blush.

Robots are already helping people with disabilities. In Melbourne people with autism and dementia are using robots in trials. La Trobe University’s Dr Rajiv Khosla is in charge of the trials. He has created the software for seven small robots that can sing, dance and play games. They read interactive stories and newspapers. They can issue reminders to take medications. The robots learn how their user is feeling and then respond appropriately. Dr Khosla envisages a future where many people with disabilities use robots.
2 comments - last comment on 12/01/2015
A woman clutching her handbag as its being grabbed by somebody in leather gloves.

Many people with a disability do not report being a victim of crime.

A recent report, Beyond Doubt, said that many people with disabilities had bad experiences when reporting crimes to police. They felt the police did not treat them with respect. The report also said police worried they did not have the skills to understand different types of disabilities. The report made a number of recommendations. It recommended the police create a code of practice on how to respond to people with disabilities. The police commissioner has said he will take on board all the recommendations. The report was produced by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
3 comments - last comment on 18/12/2014
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Photo of Dean with a background of rubble and a damaged car.
Dean Gray

Sixty thousand people signed Dean's petition.

Have you signed a petition lately? There seem to be a lot of them around. Many of them are about disability issues. Alexandria Lancaster wants tactile markings on banknotes for the vision impaired. Lucy Haslam wants cannabis decriminalised for medical use by the terminally ill. Petitions can be in the traditional paper form or online. and are online petition services. They both have Australian pages that list a number of petitions on disability issues. A petition can help get an issue into the media. Once the media is onside, change can become irresistible.
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A man lying on the couch watching TV and eating popcorn.
Are there too many slackers on the DSP?

Are there too many slackers on the DSP?

Talkback radio and some newspapers seem to have it in for disability pensioners. They claim the number of disability pensioners is spiralling out of control. They say this is because there are too many 'bludgers' getting the Disability Support Pension (DSP). But the evidence says otherwise. The growth rate of people receiving the DSP has decreased over the past decade. This is despite Australia having one of the lowest employment rates for people with disabilities. And our population is increasing and getting older so there will be more people with disabilities. Convictions for defrauding the DSP are also rare.
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A man with a beard who is wearing a suit jacket is speaking into a microphone.

We need effective advocates.

People with a disability need to have a say. We need to be heard about the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We need to be heard about changes to the Disability Support Pension. One way to be heard is by the use of advocates. But their advocacy needs to be effective. To ensure it is effective, advocates and people with disabilities should meet and exchange ideas. Such a meeting is happening in Melbourne on 4 August. The meeting is called the Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference, Champions of Change.
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Thomas Banks smiling while in front of a microphone at the launch of the DiVine website
Thomas Banks

Actor and writer Thomas Banks.

A trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is underway in the Barwon region of Victoria. DiVine writer Thomas Banks is part of the trial. He went through a lengthy process to create a disability support plan. He found the process frustrating at times. The plan included most of the things he wanted, and helped him grow his business. Thomas is pleased with the NDIS. He does not think the NDIS rollout should be delayed.
1 comment - on 27/06/2014
A person lying on the ground with their hands on their face and head.
victims of crime

Are people with disabilities more likely to be victims of crime?

Are people with disabilities more likely to be victims of crime? The Australian Bureau of Statistics has done some research into crime and disabilities. Their research suggests the majority of people with disabilities are no more likely to be victims of crime than the general population. But people with mental health disabilities appear more likely to experience violence and break-ins.
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A woman using a headset microphone to talk to her computer
Headset microphone

A microphone is needed, preferably built into a headset.

Microsoft Windows has a few features to help people with disabilities use computers. Speech recognition allows a user to tell a computer what to do. Narrator reads text aloud. Magnifier increases the screen size. Even the mouse pointer can be enlarged. Windows also has an onscreen keyboard. These accessibility features are free with Windows. Some are easy to use, while others take patience and time to learn.
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Daryl parachuting with the plane in the background.
Graham Clements Organ Donation story - daryl walker parachuting

Daryl went parachuting on his birthday.

Daryl Walker lived with liver disease for 19 years. In 2010 he was told he needed a new liver and was placed on the transplant waiting list. After a number of false starts, he had a liver transplant in 2011. He is one of an increasing number of recipients of organ donations. But unfortunately, only about one per cent of organs of registered donors are suitable for transplant. So many more people need to register to donate their organs.
1 comment - on 21/02/2014
Four taxis waiting in a queue at a taxi rank.

Have your say on taxis.

Have your say on taxis by joining the Disabled Persons Taxi Advisory Committee. The committee advises the Taxi Services Commission. Individuals and organisations have until 31 January to nominate. Nominees should have a good knowledge of the concerns people with disabilities have about taxis. Country members are welcome. Meetings are held three times a year. So nominate and help improve taxi services for people with disabilities.
1 comment - on 10/04/2014
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