A blind teenager’s vision for change that made Australian History | Connor McLeod

Connor McLeod

TEDxYouth@Sydney 2019 · 4 April 2019

Blind from birth, Connor McLeod relentlessly lobbied the Reserve Bank of Australia to print tactile banknotes. Connor’s idea arose after he was given money for Christmas, but could not tell the amount in his hand. In this incredible talk, 17 year old Connor explains how it happened.

Now 17 year old Connor McLeod started campaigning for tactile banknotes when he was 12 years old. The teenager – who has represented his school at state level athletics, rides a push bike, abseils, rock climbs, swims, and plays the drums and keyboard – started a petition.

Garnering the support of 57,000 people, as well as the Human Rights Commission and Vision Australia, Connor lobbied the then-treasurer Joe Hockey and filled a human rights complaint against the government. He refused to take no for an answer, even going to Canberra with his mum to deliver his petition to the government. It worked, and in September 2016 the first tactile $5 note was launched. With a steely resolve, the power of an online army behind him, and a willingness to share his story to help others, Connor has improved the day-to-day lives of 357,000 Australians living with vision impairments.