Australia is known as a country of freedom and fairness, however many groups such as youth, the unemployed, aged, and ethnic groups tend to become marginalised because of their minority status. Certain groups are marginalised because they are perceived as being different or undeserving of equality in society. This is called stereotyping and it leads to prejudice and discrimination. This essay explores three marginalised groups and discusses some of the reasons why they are marginalised and the effects on those within these groups. Exclusion from areas such as employment and other services and opportunities that other Australian's take for granted, is a result of the marginality of indigenous Australian's, woman, and those with disabilities as the following paragraph explores.
Disability can be defined as a condition that impedes the functional limitations of the individual, thus impairing the performance and enjoyment of activities of daily living, thereby effecting the individual's relationship with the physical, economic, and physical environment. According To the Bureau of Statistics, in 1998 19% of the Australian population were living with a disability 87% of which were attempting to cope with specific restrictions in core activities such as mobility, self-care, communication with family and friends, and opportunities to participate in educational and employment opportunities (ed. Healey 2000, p. 2). However, not all disabilities involve physical impairments. Impairments of a non-visual nature are also quite common and can largely go unnoticed such as learning disabilities. People with disabilities are victimized by negative stereotypes of dependence and incapacity associated with discriminatory attitudes and practices that result in exclusion and social isolation. Disabled people frequently lack access to employment, public facilities, voting, and other forms of civic involvement due to barriers of stigma, fear, and assumptions, and thus are denied the opportunity to participate fully in society.