Each year, a Patron is appointed for International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD). Patrons are appointed on a voluntary basis to raise awareness of the issues faced by people with disability and promote the National Disability Awards and International Day of People with Disability events celebrations.
Australia’s Patron for 2016 International Day of People with Disability is Karni Liddell.
Karni is a highly acclaimed international speaker, radio broadcaster, disability advocate and Paralympic champion. Karni has the passion and profile to draw the spotlight on disability issues in Australia and highlight what can be achieved when people with disability are given the opportunity to reach their full potential.
- 2015 — John Walsh AM, a dedicated disability rights enthusiast who was instrumental in establishing the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
- 2014 — Jacqueline Freney OAM, Australia’s most successful Paralympian at a single Games with eight gold medals in swimming at the 2012 London Paralympics. Jacqueline was honoured for her achievements by being named 2014 Young Australian of the Year.
- 2013 — Ron McCallum AO, the first totally blind professor appointed in any field in Australia or New Zealand. Ron served as Dean of the University of Sydney Law School from 2002–2007.
- 2012 — Aaron Pederson, an Australian Indigenous actor known for his short documentary, My Brother Vinnie – a heartfelt piece that explores Aaron’s relationship with his brother Vincent, as his primary carer.
- 2011 – Simon McKeon, Australian of the Year 2011 who grew up with a sister with disability and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis himself.