Touching Base is honoured to have five eminent Australians as patrons.
They are two of Australia’s most well-known human rights campaigners,
The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG and Eva Cox AO,
esteemed academic researchers Professor Basil Donovan AO and
Associate Professor Helen Meekosha, and Peter Woods OAM,
an elder statesman in the area of Local Government within NSW, Australia
The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG 2014 – present
The Hon. Michael Kirby was a Commissioner of the United Nations Development Programme Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011-12) and Commissioner of the United Nations AIDS/Lancet Commission on Sustainable Health (2013-14). Previously Australia’s longest serving High Court judge and more recently an internationally acclaimed human rights campaigner; in 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Michael Kirby to chair a team investigating human rights abuses in North Korea.
“If you deny sexual expression to human beings, cut them off from that aspect of their personalities and of their happiness, then you end up with a lot of very frustrated and very unhappy people. I applaud the work of Touching Base in facing up to reality, challenging the hypocrisy in society and its laws and recognising the needs of people to have opportunities for sexual expression, including people with disability.” The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG – Feb 2014
Eva Cox AO 2014 – present
Eva Cox is an unabashed feminist and passionately promotes inclusive, diverse and equitable ways of living together. She was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Boyer Lecturer (1995) who particularly focused on making societies more civil. She has been an academic, political adviser, public servant, and runs a small research and policy consultancy. A sociologist by trade, she promotes ideas widely and eclectically in books, on line, in journals and other media. Eva is a Professorial Fellow at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning (University of Technology, Sydney).
“The work of Touching Base is important because it recognises the serious skills of sex workers and the full human needs of their clients with disabilities. Touching Base has been positive force in breaking down ill-informed stereotypes about sex workers and the range of people who seek their services.” Eva Cox AO – Feb 2014
Professor Basil Donovan OA 2014 – present
Basil Donovan is Professor and Program Head School at The Kirby Institute. Basil is also a practising Sexual Health Physician at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre at Sydney Hospital, which he directed from 1990 to 2003. His research and policy interests include clinical and public health aspects of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections; and priority populations such as homosexually active men, youth, sex workers, Aboriginal people, prisoners, and travellers.
“Access to intimate physical contact is a fundamental human right, but often not available to many people with disabilities due to a range of societal barriers and personal prejudices. I fully support adults making an informed choice to seek sexual intimacy – and if that is intimacy is provided by a skilled and empathetic professional who practises safe sex, all the better.” Professor Basil Donovan AO – Feb 2014
Assoc Professor Helen Meekosha 2014 – present
Helen Meekosha is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Science at the University of New South Wales. She is currently one of three Chief Investigators on a research project examining the nexus between Disability and Rural Australia. Her work in Disability Studies has broken new ground in setting disability in a context of globalisation, in particular arguing the case for an examination of global North/ South relations that affect the incidence and production of disability.
Helen has been involved in Women with Disabilities Australia since its inception. Her work has always been located in activist politics of policy change and the implementation of human rights.
“Over the years I’ve seen Touching Base demonstrate a remarkable capacity to make progress with issues that many people in the community have difficulty coming to terms with. Touching Base serves as a role model to other organisations that need to improve the way they support the sexual rights of people with disabilities, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.” Assoc Prof Helen Meekosha – Feb 2014
Peter Woods OAM 2014 – 2022 (deceased June 2022)
Peter Woods was Ambassador for United Cities and Local Governments (Asia Pacific) and formerly President and then Secretary General of the Asia Pacific region and Vice President of the World body.
He served as chair or Director on many Boards and statutory authorities, was Mayor of Concord for over ten years, President of the Australian Local Government Association and the Council of Australian Governments for two years and was President of the Local Government Association of NSW from 1990-2002. Peter also served on the NSW Sex Services Premises Planning Advisory Panel 2002-04.
“Local Councils have an important part to play in improving equality amongst their citizens. That is why I support Touching Base in actively encouraging reform of Local Government policies that reduce equitable access for people with disability or discriminate against sex workers pursuing their lawful occupation in NSW.”
“It is time we saw all politicians, in all spheres of government catching up with the rest of the progressive world and recognise the rights of all its citizens. Having now retired after many years of public service I urge support for the principles of Touching Base to be embraced by all elected representatives committed to a fair-go in the true Australian tradition.” Peter Woods OAM – Feb 2014