Dr Paul Collier Biography
A truly great South Australian
At Dignity for Disability, we are deeply indebted to Paul's vision, leadership, determination and courage in building d4d into what is has become today.
He was a not only our leader, but our friend, and we miss him sorely.
Dr Collier was an author and a historian. While his lifestyle of choice - as a fighter pilot – was restricted following a motor vehicle accident in which he suffered a major spinal injury, Dr Collier always maintained that his passion to experience life at its fullest was the key to his success.
Despite unimaginable challenges, Dr Collier travelled widely and lived in England for many years - where he also completed a PhD at the University of Oxford.
His passion was about creating a society in which everyone is respected and valued equally, and in which everyone has the chance to achieve their passion. His frustrations with needless bureaucracy, unnecessarily controlling systems and other barriers for people with disabilities are shared by many in South Australia, but Paul actually got up, and stuck his neck out for all to benefit. He was a vociferous supporter of Self Managed Funding, under a model similar to that in the United Kingdom and was constantly campaigning for better access to all that life has to offer for people with disabilities.
Dr Collier had an active leadership role in numerous Federal organisations, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Advisory Council, Arts Access Australia and the National Disability Advisory Council, and he also served on a range of community organisations.
Dr Collier embraced challenge - including skydiving from 3000m and standing as a candidate for the Legislative Council in the 2006 South Australian State Election, and again in 2010 with the Dignity for Disability Party.
Paul was known as man of great intellect, someone whose wheelchair was a way to get around, but not something to slow him down. His humour, talents, and friendly yet stubborn nature led him to be one of South Australia’s most highly respected Disability Advocates, and a great friend to many.
Through his determination and positive attitude, Dr Collier’s life has shown that barriers can simply make you strive for higher and greater goals.