Dignified disability scheme is paramount
God is capricious, arbitrary and callous when it comes to inflicting tragic disabilities on his/her creatures.
The question is whether our community is willing to come alongside the victims and their carers and make things better, or whether we, like God, could care less.
In a wealthy community such as ours, there is no excuse for leaving those with life-long serious debilitation to do-it-yourself, hand-to-mouth, care plans.
We should be looking at a comprehensive national disabilities insurance scheme that shares the burden.
Such a plan was envisaged at the 2020 Summit in 2008, and the details and case can be examined at NDIS.
The relevant member of the Government with carriage on the issue, Bill Shorten, has made positive statements – he reportedly sees it as a simple proposal that addresses for many the last barriers to their basic human rights.
The question is whether the social democratic rhetorical declarations that have on occasions sufficed for action in this government will be turned into a practical reform in this matter. And perhaps it is the area of policy pro-activity and leadership the Coalition needs at the moment.
Before the next pay rise for the public sector, or the next increase in age-pensions, or the next tax cut, a revamp of disability support should be undertaken that delivers an effective no-fault disability insurance scheme.
This is about the priority we should give to ensuring that minimal standards in daily living needs and support are provided to those with profound disabilities – something like 3% of the population.
I met a man the other day at a professional function who mentioned he was on the board of a charitable body that provided services for people with severe disabilities.
I asked him if he had a direct interest in the services being provided, and it turned out that he and his wife had cared for their daughter over the 30+ years since she was born with profound disabilities.
I stupidly commented that I thought that it seemed to me that carers had a strong case for a national insurance scheme, but I didn’t see the sustained political campaign that was necessary.
He told me that was because many, like him and his wife, were exhausted from juggling care and jobs and from their previous lobbying efforts.
I have been fortunate that both my sons have come through life to adulthood without a birth defect or an accident or trauma that could rob them of the potential for a full life.
It has been, of course, a matter of ‘there but for the act of God …”
The ALP and Coalition parties will be preparing their election platforms for the coming election.
I put my hand up as willing to pay the little bit extra in tax that might be necessary to get a proper, dignifying system in place.
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