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Diversity and Disability Specialist, Clinical Social Worker


Karni Liddell’s journey to become one of Australia’s most successful Paralympians began a lot differently than most elite athletes, as she was born with a neuro-muscular wasting disease and her parents were told that their first-born child wouldn’t walk, crawl or live past her teenage years.

Current work

Karni is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Queensland Ambassador, she sat on the United Nations Women’s board (Queensland Charter), is a member of the Queensland Premier’s Domestic and Family Violence Council, is a radio broadcaster, a presenter for Channel 7 and is the the Patron of the International Day of People with a Disability, as well as being an Ambassador for Kids Help Line, Muscular Dystrophy Queensland and Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association.

Karni is an Internationally acclaimed and sought-after keynote speaker and her 2014 TEDx presentation, which has been watched by thousands of people around the world. She was the only TED speaker on the day to receive a standing ovation.

Previous experience

World Record: Karni broke her first World Record at the age of 14 and went on to medal at every Paralympics she competed since. She regards being captain of the Number 1 team at the Sydney 2000 Games her greatest achievement.

Charity: Karni has risen over $1million dollars throughout her career for the various disability charities she supports.

Awards: In 2014 Karni was awarded the Pride of Australia medal, she has also won the Queensland Teacher and Trainer of the year (2015) and was awarded the Alumni of the Year award for the Faculty of Health at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Karni holds a Clinical Masters in Social Work (QUT) and a double Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Bond University.

Talking Points

Choices in Life



  • Inspiring Stories
  • Disability


  • Olympics & Paralympics
I have seen Karni Liddell speak 3 times now and it just gets better every time. I last used her to present to all my staff at our half yearly conference and she was again thought provoking and inspiring. Her session ran over by 1 hour as there were so many questions my staff wanted to ask her. Karni makes everyone who listens to her realise that the small things they are sweating on are really not important in the big picture. She clearly inspires people just by passing on her story. How can people not be inspired to greater things after discovering the adversity she defeated. A great reality check for all my people. Flight Centre
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