The duplicity of choice and empowerment: disability rights diluted in Australia’s policies on assistive technology

Steel, Emily J. (2019) The duplicity of choice and empowerment: disability rights diluted in Australia’s policies on assistive technology. Societies, 9 (2). p. 39.

Text (Published version)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (212Kb) | Preview


The combination of choice as a contested concept and its increasing adoption as a policy principle necessitates a critical analysis of its interpretation within Australia’s reforms to disability services. While choice may appear to be an abstract and flexible principle in policy, its operationalization in practice tends to come with conditions. This paper investigates the interpretation of choice in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), via an interpretive policy analysis of assistive technology (AT) provision. Analysis of policy artefacts reveals a diminishing influence of disability rights in favor of an economic discourse, and contradictory assumptions about choice in the implementation of legislation. The language of choice and empowerment masks the relegation of the presumption of capacity to instead perpetuate professional power in determining access to resources by people with disability.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 36502
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version made available under a Creative Commons Attribution license 4.0.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 27 May 2019 02:46
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 05:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: assistive technology; choice; capacity; national disability insurance scheme; interpretive policy analysis
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111703 Care for Disabled
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160512 Social Policy
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180114 Human Rights Law
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9402 Government and Politics > 940204 Public Services Policy Advice and Analysis
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940101 Ability and Disability
Identification Number or DOI: 10.3390/soc9020039

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only