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Parliament celebrates National Deaf Week, October 2007

History was made in the Queensland Parliament today when Question Time was interpreted in sign language to visiting members of the deaf community.

For the first time in the Parliament's history, interpreters were situated in the Parliament's Public Gallery to provide a sign language version of Question Time.

Approximately 150 deaf persons filled the Parliament's Public Gallery to capacity to be part of this historic occasion, marking the National Week of Deaf People.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Mike Reynolds, welcomed members of the deaf community to Parliament House this morning by signing a welcome during his address to the Parliament.

Mr Reynolds said, "It is my aim to ensure that the Queensland Parliament engages with all Queenslanders and that Parliament is made more accessible to everyone in our community."

"Having Question Time interpreted in sign language today was a fantastic initiative to make the Parliament more accessible to deaf persons."

"Today's events also helped make all Members of Parliament more aware of the issues faced by deaf persons in our community each day.

"I wish to thank Deaf Services Queensland, the Member for Gympie, David Gibson, MP and the Member for Glass House, Carolyn Male, MP for helping to organise this event.

The Members for Gympie and Glass House also used sign language in asking questions of Ministers during Question Time.

The Chief Executive Officer of Deaf Services Queensland, Damian Lacey, said that the Queensland deaf community and Members of the Queensland Parliament had today crossed a great bridge.

Mr Lacey said that, "The willingness and friendliness of all Members of Parliament in welcoming the deaf community and recognising their needs has been a major step forward."

The Queensland Parliament and the deaf community participating in National Deaf Week 
Photo: © Drew Fitzgibbon 2007