Giving Positive People a Voice
Chris Carter organized one of the most profound moments in PLWHA activism in this country: the first public coming out of a group of positive people on a stage at the third National AIDS Conference in Hobart in 1988. This courageous statement at a time when discrimination and ignorance towards positive people was rife was a turning point in the epidemic, signaling that now positive people wanted to have a voice in the decisions that were being made about them. Chris had already been involved in setting up the National People Living with AIDS Coalition and became a co-founder of People Living with AIDS Victoria established in 1988.
Chris helped organize the first public meeting about HIV at the Dental Hospital in Melbourne, became a member of the Victorian AIDS Action Committee which sprang from the meeting and played a vital role in building networks with politicians, in particular. During 1983 and 1984 he was an adviser to Don Chipp. Leader of the Australian Democrats, and was able to facilitate the first meeting of HIV community representatives with the then Federal Health Minister, Dr. Neal Blewett. In the mid-eighties he also played an important role in raising AIDS awareness through his editorship of the Melbourne Voice (later the Melbourne Star Observer).
The Australian Democrats have established an annual Chris Carter Award for an individual who has contributed in a major way towards community development and activism. We acknowledge Chris here today as a tenacious fighter for the visibility of positive people, a founder of PLWHA Victoria and one of the single, most important leaders of HIV/AIDS activism in our history.
Photo courtesy of Satellite Group Limited