Kinsella vs Queensland University of Technology
Mr. Kinsela, who uses a wheelchair, complained to the Commission that, on completion of his Bachelor of Science (Human Services) degree he would not be able to participate on the same basis as his colleagues in the graduation ceremony because the ceremony was to be held in an inaccessible venue. Even though some arrangements were to be made to accommodate him on the stage, he would not be able to have the experience of participating in the procession with his year group and being part of the normal and significant experience of receiving his degree in the same way as everybody else.
Efforts to negotiate a change of venue with the University had been unsuccessful, and the matter went to hearing. The Commission found that the requirement that graduands be able to use steps to participate fully in the ceremony was not reasonable, and that there was an alternative venue which could be used. In considering the "unjustifiable hardship" provisions of the DDA, she found that there were other benefits that may accrue to participants and their families and friends, in the use of the more accessible venue, and that these outweighed the possible disadvantages for the University. She also pointed out that, despite the Concert Hall having been the traditional venue for these ceremonies, "the legislation has changed, and the rights that are expected by and afforded to persons with a disability have changed and so expectations must themselves change".
Commissioner Atkinson ordered that the graduation ceremony be moved to an accessible venue.