Friday, November 21, 2014
Text Size

Can't find what you are looking for?

Welcome to QAI

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) is an independent, community-based systems and legal advocacy organisation for people with disability in Queensland, Australia.

11.08 disabilitytea

Who is QAI?

Find out more about Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, its mission and people.


ndis rally 2012

What is systems advocacy?

Learn more about systems advocacy and QAI's systems advocacy projects, past and present.


Need legal help?

Find out more about QAI's legal and support services for people with intellectual disability, cognitive impairment, mental illness or profound physical disability.

11.08 disabilitytea

Upcoming Events

Come to QAI's next forum.


Want to get involved?

Help QAI by becoming a member, making a donation or becoming a law student or legal professional volunteer.


Friday 30 August 2013
Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland
Level 17, 53 Albert Street Brisbane CBD

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated stands up for disability rights before the UN

Media Release

13 November 2014

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) formed part of the Australian NGO Delegation reporting to the 53rd session of the United Nation’s Committee Against Torture in Geneva this week, calling upon the Australian Government to take immediate steps to halt ongoing human rights abuses in Australia.  At issue was the treatment of some of Australia’s most vulnerable and marginalised people, including people with disabilities, asylum seekers, women, children and Indigenous peoples.

“Of particular concern to us is the use of Restrictive Practices on people with disabilities, which include mechanical, physical and chemical restraint, seclusion, containment and restricting access to objects,” David Manwaring, Human Rights lawyer at QAI, informed the Committee. 

“In spite of previous recommendations and findings of this Committee and the Special Rapporteur, many people with disabilities continue to be routinely subjected to Restrictive Practices as a means of coercion, discipline and punishment.”

“Discrimination plays a large part in this.  Restrictive Practices constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and are often tantamount to torture within the meaning of the Convention”, Mr Manwaring submitted.

QAI also informed the Committee of concerns that the detention of people with disabilities who refuse treatment under mental health laws and sanctioning of the use of invasive and irreversible treatments such as psychosurgery, ECT and sterilisation constitute human rights violations.

Michelle O’Flynn, Director of QAI, expressed her satisfaction with the significant interest the Committee expressed in learning of Australia’s response to our obligations under the Convention since the last reporting in 2008. 

“QAI has a strong commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities and to this end, we are dedicated to promoting the principles set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” Ms O’Flynn said.

“Many people with disability are not in a position to advocate for themselves.  Queensland Advocacy Incorporated calls upon the Federal Government to take decisive action to stamp out these practices, which in our view amount to torture, as an urgent priority,” she said.

“Under the present state government we have recently seen a further erosion of the safeguards for people with disabilities.  Queensland is presently an outlier as regards its regulation of the use of Restrictive Practices, and people with disabilities are at the pointy end of this sword,” Ms O’Flynn said.

Recommendations made by QAI to the UN Committee include immediate ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (which Australia signed in May 2009 but has yet to ratify); drafting a human rights act; developing a national plan of positive behavioural support strategies; and developing effective mechanisms to identify and eliminate the use of Restrictive Practices.

The Australian Delegation was led by Ngila Bevan, Human Rights Advisor from People with Disability Australia (PWDA), and included representatives from QAI, Amnesty International Australia, Human Rights Law Centre, First Peoples Disability Network, Women With Disabilities Australia, Care Leavers Australia Network, Survivors Network of Abuse by Priests, Remedy Australia and the Association for the Prevention of Torture.


Australian Delegation at the United Nations Convention Against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland.


United Nations Convention Against Torture

Our Director Michelle O'Flynn and Human Rights Lawyer David Manwaring were fortunate enough to receive a grant of funding from the Australian Human Rights Commission to appear before the Committee at the United Nations Convention Against Torture in Geneva Switzerland. David's statement can be found here.



Wanted: Paralegal Advocate

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated is recruiting a paralegal advocate to fill a 6 month contract position within its Mental Health Legal Service and Justice Support Program.

Under the supervision of experienced lawyers, the paralegal advocate will work to empower people and uphold their human rights by providing information, advice, referral and practical assistance to people who are receiving involuntary treatment for mental illness. The paralegal advocate may also represent clients at hearings of the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

The paralegal advocate will also provide non-legal advocacy to people with disability involved in the criminal justice system, to ensure they have the legal and social supports they need.

The role is 3 days per week (0.6 FTE) paid at QCSCAA Level 4.1 ($61,321 pro rata).  Anticipated start date is 12 January 2015.

Position Description and Selection Criteria

Applications close on at 5pm on Monday, 24 November 2014 and are to be limited to 2 pages broadly addressing the selection criteria, and a CV. Please send applications to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For any enquiries, please contact Rebekah Leong, Principal Solicitor, 3844 4200 (Tue, Wed or Fri only).


Combined Advocacy Groups Queensland Annual Conference

QAI had the pleasure of hosting the 2014 Combined Advocacy Groups Queensland (CAGQ) Conference on Monday 27 October 2014.

The conference was an opportunity for advocacy groups around the state to meet and discuss current issues in the disability sector. These issues included mainly topics around the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), challenging traditional service provision, Public Guardian and Trustee (and choice and control) and the future of advocacy.

The day was a great success and we had many great speakers including:

  • Tony Hayes, Deputy Director General, Disability Services Queensland (Presentation)
  • Kevin Martin, Public Guardian Queensland
  • Madonna Nicoll, President of Speaking Up For You (SUFY) (Presentation )
  • David Fintan, Corporate Counsel, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) (Presentation )
  • Mary Mallett, CEO of Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA)

We would also like to express our gratitude to Carol Holt who was the Facilitator on the day.



Page 1 of 3

Upcoming Events


Joe Hockey: HANDS OFF the NDIS!!! Leave the NDIA in place and Don't move it to Medibank

Please sign QAI'S petition to show Joe Hockey that you support people with disability and recognise the importance of keeping the NDIA out of the medical model.

SAVE THE DATE!Friday 30 August 2013
Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland
Level 17, 53 Albert Street Brisbane CBD

Donate Now

Make a Donation

Disability Watch

Contact Us

Our street address is:
2nd Floor, South Central
43 Peel Street (Cnr Merivale Street)

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 3302

Ph: (07) 3844 4200
Within Qld:   1300 130 582
Fax:  (07) 3844 4220

Feedback & complaints

Help us to improve the way we provide assistance by completing our client feedback survey online.

Alternatively, a hard copy of the survey is available here.

If you wish to make a complaint about QAI, please see our complaints policy.

Follow us on Twitter

NACLC Accreditation