Pat Conaghan helps effect change for equal Paralympic podium pay

Cowper MP Pat Conaghan in Parliament last week.

 

LAST week in parliament Federal Member for Cowper Mr Pat Conaghan effected a change in pay disparity for our paralympians on the world stage.

He made a speech celebrating Cowper’s four paralympians in the Tokyo Paralympic Games and he also raised the issue of pay inequity.

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In his speech he said from Cowper there were four remarkable men and women who were proudly representing their country: Ryley Batt, Bill Latham, Paige Leonhardt and Maddie McTernan.

All of them, he remarked in his speech, had outstanding performances at the Paralympics.

“But unlike their able bodied counterparts they are not financially rewarded for a podium finish by the Australian Olympic Committee,” he said.

“Our Paralympians receive no such reward and I called on all Government members to support a change.

“With up to twenty thousand dollar cash from the Australian Olympic Committee for able bodied podium finishers to learn that absolutely no financial reward is provided to their paralympic counterparts is very disappointing.

“I think we can all agree that something needs to be done about this disparity.”

Mr Conaghan spoke with News Of The Area about the speech and what inspired him to make it.

“These athletes train just as hard as their counterparts who are able bodied.

“I found it remarkable that even in 2021 there was still that discrimination between those who had a disability and those who didn’t.

“It highlighted the struggle and I thought this is not right,” he said.

Mr Conaghan was pleased that Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke to the Australian Olympic Committee and they made the monumental announcement that this disparity has now been rectified!

“Our Paralympians will receive the same reward as our Olympians which is fantastic news,” he said.

“It was great to see how quickly this was resolved and I imagine that in the future this will be the norm rather than the exception,” Mr Conaghan said.

So how has the podium pay been received by Paralympians?

Mr Conaghan said he saw an interview with one of the Paralympians and they could hear the cheering go up all around the Tokyo accommodation as everyone had been watching question time at Parliament.

Mr Conaghan said helping people is a rewarding part of the job.

“We effect change every single day and we legislate to make people’s lives better.”

 

By Sandra MOON

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