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I believe that the way society views difference is shaped by political acts that mandate the provision of a high quality of life for all citizens, regardless of background or circumstance. Public institutions in Australia such as schools, law enforcement agencies and government service providers have obligations to enforce the rights for fair and equitable treatment for all citizens that reflect broader global human right policies (Elkins, 2008). Worldwide human rights statements deem it unacceptable to discriminate against people because of race, age, gender, cultural or social background or disability, and this forms the basis for Australia’s standards in human rights law (Ashman, 2008; Australian Human Rights Commission, 2008; Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education, 2008).

The value of inclusive policy in society is reinforced as discriminatory behaviours relating to employment, education and law enforcement once commonplace are viewed harshly and treated seriously (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2008). Severe penalties for breaches of these standards requires service providers to become conscious of potential prejudice and discrimination in their interactions with ‘people of difference’ that spreads into wider society and influences people’s behaviour, if not their underlying attitudes. As schools and teachers are agents of social change, policies relating to inclusive education speak strongly of the Government’s commitment to catering to diversity in Australian society (Disability Coordination and Regional Disability Liaison Officer Initiative, 2008).

Conversely, policy and legislation relating to education in Australia currently reflects a Federal Government push towards standardisation and accountability in sc...

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*Elkins, J. (2008). Legislation, policies and principles. In A. Ashman & J. Elkins (Eds.), Education for inclusion and diversity. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Mc Tighe, J., & Brown, J. L. (2005). Differentiated instruction and educational standards; Is detente possible? Theory into Practice, 44(3), 234-244.

Queensland Education. (2005). Inclusive Education Statement. Retrieved March 2nd, 2010. from

The Curriculum Corporation. (2009). The Australian Curriculum. Retrieved 8th March, 2010, from,28824.html

Williams, C. B., & Finnegan, M. (2003). From myth to reality; Sound information for teachers about students who are deaf. Teaching Exceptional Children, 35(3), 40-45.

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