The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is ensuring its greatest levels of accessibility during this year’s Federal Election, following the re-appointment of leading national language services provider LanguageLoop.
For the first time ever, Deaf or hard-of-hearing Australians have been able to take advantage of the latest digital innovation in Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpreting. Australia’s first dedicated mobile video interpreting app VideoLoop connects users to an accredited Auslan interpreter, who provides video assistance during the enrolment and voting process.
CEO of LanguageLoop, Elizabeth Compton, says, “We recognised our ability to provide the Deaf with a fast, seamless service, available at the push of a button, anywhere in Australia. As a result, we feel a genuine sense of pride and achievement in our Auslan VideoLoop service.”
“The election process can be a complicated and daunting task for many, so imagine trying to navigate the process with a hearing impairment or in a foreign language. We feel honoured to play such an integral role in improving accessibility for all Australians and ensuring they are not disadvantaged from participating in our fundamental democratic process” she says.
LanguageLoop also provides the AEC with multilingual telephone information lines that can be accessed 24/7 and the ability to speak to an interpreter in up to 180 languages.
“The AEC receives thousands of calls to LanguageLoop’s multilingual telephone help-lines during every Federal election from the 21% of Australians who speak a language other than English. There is an overwhelming demand for in-language support from our vast multicultural communities,” Ms Compton says.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016, 3105.0.65.001 – Australian Historical Population Statistics:
- Nearly 30 per cent of Australians were born overseas
- More than one in five Australians (21 per cent) speak a language other than English at home.
- After English, the next most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi*.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016, 4430.0 – Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2015:
- Over one in six Australians is affected by hearing loss