A man standing alone in front of a white wooden wall. He is wearing a bright yellow button up shirt with patterns and red pants. He is smiling broadly at the camera.

Vinnie Batten - Emerging Leaders 2021

Vinnie is a QDN member and is a shining example of a new generation of young people with disability. They have seen the issues that have affected them, and they are determined to make changes that will benefit everyone living with disability within their communities.

Being born with a physical disability, hasn’t stopped him from achieving; be it running for Guild President at University and getting elected, receiving a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Distinction), receiving a Student Leadership Special Excellence Award (1 of only 9 granted in 15 years), or even running a successful small business, all before hitting his 27th birthday.

Back in February Vinnie applied to be part of a nine-month inaugural Emerging Leader Program that was run by Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN).

QDN a state-wide organisation of, by, and for people with diverse disability.  QDNs work is focused on disability rights and systemic advocacy. Their Emerging Leaders Program is a leadership development program for people with disability. It supports emerging leaders to:

  • build capacity and develop the skills and confidence to contribute to their community,
  • lead change in their lives and their community,
  • create a more inclusive community, and
  • inform, connect, lead and influence.

“Being an environmental scientist, disability advocate, and small business owner. I knew the QDN Emerging Leaders Program would help me to make change within my community. The Program has given me the skills and confidence to be successfully pre-selected as a candidate at the next federal election in the seat of Dickson”, said Vinnie.

“I believe it is crucial that the scope of disability is seen as much bigger by the community at large. There is still significant stigma for those who have invisible or seemingly minor conditions that either don’t feel confident to identify and seek the help they deserve or do and are judged by those who have a narrow understanding of what disability means”.

“I also believe that we need to see a push for more representation of people with disability individuals within our communities, and that’s one of the reasons why I am standing for election”, said Vinnie passionately.

Read more about the 2021 Emerging Leaders here