Systems Advocacy



Advocacy is acting, with minimal conflict of interest, on behalf 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 concerned primarily 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.


A disability advocate may work to fix something that affects just one person.  That person might want advocacy about their schooling, their access to public transport, their NDIS plan, or some other thing.

Sometimes, a lot of people have the same problem.  For example, schools might discriminate against people with intellectual disability.  Trains might not be accessible to anyone who uses a wheelchair.  The NDIS might not be available to any person with disability in prison.  A systems advocate works to fix problems that affect a lot of people at once.

Systems advocates work for the human and legal rights of groups of individuals.

QAI’s systems advocates try to influence and challenge ‘the system’, empower people with disability, and challenge disability discrimination.

Anyone can be a systems advocate.  You do systems advocacy when you share a news story or sign a petition about a disability issue.

Many people do this every day.




  • Meet with politicians and public servants to tell them what we want
  • Write to them in submissions on policy and legislation
  • Talk to service providers so that people with disability can set their own goals, not do only what they are told
  • Talk to advisory committees and reference groups
  • Appear before parliamentary committees
  • Go to the United Nations
  • Talk to the media
  • Post about disability matters on Facebook, Twitter and QAI’s website
  • Represent people in courts, tribunals and before the Coroner
  • Engage with statutory bodies such as the Public Advocate, Public Guardian and Public Trustee
  • Publish reports, guides, fact-sheets and handbooks
  • Hold forums and workshops
  • Speak at conferences, workshops and forums
  • Support people with disability to advocate about their systemic challenges
  • Work with other organizations: for example, to promote Queensland human rights legislation.


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities guides our work.



  1. To ensure respect for the fundamental right for all people with disability to participate in a full and inclusive life.
  2. To ensure vulnerable people with disability are supported to exercise their rights and are protected and safeguarded from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other unreasonable restrictions.
  3. To ensure that all people with disability have genuine autonomy: the right to choose where, with whom and how they live; to have culturally appropriate support and authoritative mechanisms to exercise self-determination.


  • Rights of people with disability in the criminal justice system
  • Decision-making, autonomy, independence
  • Guardianship: least restrictive and a last resort
  • Elimination of Restrictive Practices*
  • Challenging forced co-tenancies, segregation, and group living arrangements
  • Affordable, secure housing
  • Accommodation choices: where, how, with whom
  • Accessible, independent advocacy

*physical, chemical or mechanical restraint; containment or seclusion

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

 (07) 3844 4200
 (07) 3844 4220
 1300 130 582