Sue O’Reilly, who has guest written today’s column on The Angry Cripple is a freelance journalist and the mother of a 21-year-old son with cerebral palsy. She co-founded Australians Mad as Hell last year with Fiona Porter to campaign for an NDIS and established a charity called Fighting Chance to help people with disabilities pay for essential therapy services.

The other day, amid all the reactions to the Productivity Commission report recommending a radical new national disability care and support scheme, a reader of this column made what struck me as a
most intriguing comment.

A Cambodian beggar, doesn't even get to live under the bridge.

Somebody calling him/herself NEFFA wrote: “Why don’t you all move to Cambodia and see how much government support you get there? Sometimes you need perspective to understand just how good you have it.”

Personally, I can see the appeal of this notion for all those many Aussies who fail to understand why their hard-earned dollars should help fund decent care and support services for fellow citizens with profound disabilities and their families.  Put all us whingers and ingrates on rickety boats and push us off to sea, heading north! Problem solved.

But it’s OK, NEFFA - only joking. I appreciate this wasn’t the point you were trying to make, which of course was that compared to millions of people with disabilities and their families in poverty-
stricken Third World countries, those of us here in Australia are extremely fortunate. And guess what? On one level, you’re entirely right.

Coincidentally, my daughter has just returned from
Cambodia, broken-hearted at the suffering she witnessed of people with disabilities literally living on the streets. It made me truly grateful that, unlike one Cambodian father she told me about, I do not
have to send my severely disabled son from table to table at outdoor restaurants, begging for scraps of food (well, not to date, anyway).

Yes NEFFA, everything in life – everything – is indeed relative. In fact, whenever any of us 22 million or so Aussies are tempted to whinge and moan about our hospitals or roads or schools or whatever,
we should all instantly remember how fortunate we are compared to hundreds of millions of people in far less wealthy, stable and prosperous countries.

But is the fundamental point NEFFA was seeking to make truly valid? In reflecting on “just how good” – or otherwise - Australians with disabilities and their families have it, should we be comparing our country’s disability care and support system to Cambodia or East Timor or Ethiopia, to mention just a few benighted places? Or should we be comparing our system to that in place in other similarly wealthy, stable and prosperous First World countries, such as Canada, New Zealand or the UK?

People like NEFFA will find this hard to grasp, I realise, but just because we do not have limbless beggars in rags crawling around our railway stations, this does not mean that people with disabilities
in Australia and their families have got it “good”, at least in comparison to people in similar circumstances in other comparable countries.

Having lived for 12 years in the UK with my severely disabled son and studied the systems in place in NZ, Canada, Europe and the US, I do know what I’m talking about when I measure the Australian disability support system against those in other comparable countries.

And again, NEFFA, guess what? Australia actually has, far and away, the worst, most inefficient, most dysfunctional, most wasteful, most inequitable and most shambolic disability care and support
system in the western world.

Why? Because in stark contrast to the situation in most other wealthy countries, no one in Australia has ever sat down (before now, that is) and turned their minds to actually conceptualising and then designing a comprehensive, integrated, coherent, cost-effective disability care and support system. Instead, what we have here is a mish-mash of a system that has developed over decades in the most higgledly-piggedly way possible, with a plethora of disparate charities all struggling to meet basic support needs and a confusing, uncoordinated mess of different State and federal government programs.

The current system is like a 40-storey building erected bit by bit, without any overall design or planning and without anyone having actually gone to the trouble of putting in place strong, solid foundations. Layer after layer after layer has just been added over the decades, with the result that this 40-storey building now looks like something out of Christchurch.

It’s because this current system has got to the point where even sight-impaired Freddie can see it’s about to collapse that finally, finally, a wide, bipartisan range of key policymakers and politicians
have recognised that the only sensible option is to demolish the whole damn mess and start all over again, pretty much from scratch - and this time, design it properly. That’s what the Productivity Commission process over the past year or so has been all about, and a good, strong, coherent design is exactly what the Commission has come up with.

The “death spiral” state of our current system, to quote John Walsh, may be impossible for people like NEFFA (whom I would hazard a guess has no personal experience of it) to grasp. But if it’s not
fixed, and soon, it is most definitely going to collapse. And wouldn’t it be terrible if someone like NEFFA just happened to be walking underneath at the time?

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Rick says:

      06:26am | 09/03/11

      Sucks to be NEFFA.

    • Anna says:

      06:30am | 09/03/11

      I have no personal experience of disability management in Australia or elsewhere but from everything I have read - including this incisive article - the situation desperately needs an overhaul. I hope the proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Productivity Commission’s work etc all contribute to making the system infinitely better for those who experience disability and their families and others who care for them.

    • Sam says:

      06:36am | 09/03/11

      Too right Anna!

    • mary says:

      07:02am | 09/03/11

      Excellent reminder O Angry One, to keep everything in perspective.

      It is easy talking as a so called, able bodied person.

      One of our family members volunteers at the Riding for the Disabled. A colleague mentioned to her that only after the birth of his son did he recognise his disability.

      He said, Up till the birth of my son I wasn’t aware of my disability. Hadn’t noticed my severe lack of empathy, compassion and inability to prioritise the most important things in life. Thanks to my son (born with cerebral palsy) I’m now actively working to overcome my multiple disabilities of inertia, smugness and arrogance.

      Hear hear.

    • Therese Quinlan says:

      10:58am | 09/03/11

      HEAR HEAR!!  There are disabilities and there are disabilities. I think a lack of compassion is the worst of the lot!

    • Yak of the Goldfields says:

      12:04pm | 09/03/11

      Hear, hear. The wife and I talk all the time about how our families ‘adventure’ is making us better people. Our kids have re-adjusted our priorities, and for the better, we think.

      Great story mary.

    • Phil Osopher says:

      07:18am | 09/03/11

      I want my taxes to go to deserving Australians, struggling with disabilities, not whinging unauthorised arrivals getting free bed and lodgings.

    • mc says:

      10:11am | 09/03/11

      If only we had the choice on were our taxes went . . .

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      10:20am | 09/03/11

      Wouldn’t it be nice to actually have this as an election issue.

    • Therese Quinlan says:

      11:00am | 09/03/11

      No no no, you’ve got this all wrong - two wrongs don’t make a right.  Refugees should not be made to suffer for someone else’s mistakes.  I think you are speaking from profound ignorance and prejudice.  If you had spoken to and got to know the refugees that I know, you wouldn’t talk that way.

    • rufus says:

      11:01am | 09/03/11

      It is an election issue, ToP, in as much as you and others keep harping about it. It isn’t a decisive election issue, though, because both major parties recognise the value in a foreign aid program and most Australians appear to either agree or, if not, don’t think it’s a really big deal.

      There will always be a few fringe narks like you and Phil O but never enough to make it a real issue.


    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      11:28am | 09/03/11

      Therese Quinlan
      Given that the money will have to come from somewhere (Gillard   already has blown the money Costello saved and put us in debt) - which program would *you* terminate in order to fund this one?

    • Is this Phil Osopher for real or what says:

      11:49am | 09/03/11

      of course you would phil of course you would mate. i live in fairfield, in the cul de sac that I live in only 2 families are contributing to this country’s prosperity, 1 is mine, a family of what you would call wogs, and the other is a family of what you would call lebs, all the other 6 inhabitants of the cul de sac are housing commision, not one of them is disabled, the inhabitants live there simply because their parents used to live there, their parents lived their because their parents lived their, the surrounding streets were originally all housing commision built in the 1940s, apparently if you live in housing commision for 10 odd years it is dificult for the dept to evict you, $80 a week in rent, everything is free or subsidised, and they have the nerve to complain about the govt and its policies including migration, all these families are what you would call aussies, as far as i’m concerned not only should they be entitled to no opinion whatsoever on anything, but theyre lips should be stitched up, these people contribute nothing, they own nothing and therefore have no respect for anything, what am i to do, the authorities are useless, these people scare the shit out of me, you should see them, sides of their heads shaved and rats tails, ive tried to talk and be civil, but they see that as a sign of weakness, the only solution for me and the leb is to call our wog and leb mates, that seems to shut them up and theyve been half decent since then, so have a think about that, mate, before you get all timid and scared of refugees and migrants

    • Chris L says:

      03:58pm | 09/03/11

      @“Is this Phil Osopher for real or what” - Too right! Let us all remember that there are the good, the bad, the productive and the useless among any society or group. To complain about all the immigrants is no different than to complain about all the “Aussies”.

      Not saying this as a recent immigrant either, my family arrived in the nineteenth century and I have nothing against others doing to same thing now.

    • pete says:

      07:20am | 09/03/11

      I wonder if people going by boat from Australia to Cambodia as refugees/  boat people would get a better welcome then we give refugees here?

      Apart from that,  NEFFA I hope you never have to walk in their shoes. Your comments are in direct proportion to your ignorance.

    • Broken says:

      07:42am | 09/03/11

      Now with severe disability in my later years I agree with Sue O’Reilly.  The information out there is all over the place, friends suddenly discover things for me, a change of GPs found me blown away with what this new one knows, compared to the former GP - no help from Disability Services Qld because they got no more funding in the last “round” and are unable to help any more people than they currently do - my name is on waiting lists all around the place and I may get one hour of cleaning (which DOES NOT include any dusting whatever) a fortnight.  And I am almost unable to walk, and cannot reach up, have major problems that require surgery (another waiting list…) and so on. 

      Finding out what I can use to assist me to survive is mind-boggling and tiring and I am in constant pain already which is very exhausting.  The services are so inconsistent, and so hard to locate - I am lucky, very very lucky, in my friends.

    • BT says:

      07:52am | 09/03/11

      Those with a mental illness are the most disadvantaged in the current system, even beyond the profoundly physically and intellectually disabled. Many of them are homeless and have communication barriers which makes it even harder for them to get assistance. I hope the National Disability Insurance Scheme covers these most desperate of people.

    • malohi says:

      08:32am | 09/03/11

      I assuma NEEFA will be given a coloumn right of reply without the seemingly frivolous moderation of the comment section.
      Heaven forbid he or she be able to expand on thier comment in context to where it was written and explain any hyperbole or sarcasm which may have been lost in the text.
      What an ambush. i could take thousands of comments on this site a day and write a page long essay tearing them to shreds in isolation. I wonder if the punch would publish my rants.. although I do not hold the lofty tite of “freelance journalist.”

    • Michelle Robinette says:

      09:55am | 09/03/11

      Another NEEFA I see

    • Faye says:

      11:16am | 09/03/11

      Calm down Malohi, it’s hardly as if her name and address were published! Surely someone with experience of disability has the right of reply, particularly given the angry tone of NEEFA’s comments.

      Were our national hospital system in such ruin and decay as the disability system, I wonder if NEEFA would be as quick to advise people that if they don’t like it to get on a boat and head for the nearest third world country. I doubt it. NEEFA should perhaps consider that disability can happen to absolutely anyone at any time.

      That said, I have two little boys who have a disability and I will be heeding NEEFA’s advice, although I won’t be headed for Cambodia I will be heading to the UK where children with disability have the right to an education and appropriate and timely services. That is if we, in Australia, don’t start to treat people with disability with dignity, equality and afford them the same human rights as everybody else.

    • malohi says:

      12:50pm | 09/03/11

      Make the strawman arguement if you want. I am not endorsing NEEFA’s comments, I find them as written in the article prima facie ignorant.

      However the appropriate place for this article was in the comment section, where for better or worse there was a level playing field (comment length, trail of context etc.) In this form it is essentialy taking one comment out of context and tearing it apart without giving NEEFA any kind of retort.
      The substance of the original comment is irrelevant, nor is the use of a nom de plum. It simply amounts to bullying.

    • CD says:

      01:28pm | 09/03/11

      Grow up Malohi!

      Neefa stated views many find unacceptable and guess what bud?
      He/she has that great ability of putting view to computer.

      Many may not. Your umbrage on this person’s behalf is laughable and smacks of Neefa under another nome de plume, a friend or a very ugly human being indeed.

      Good on you Susie for having the guts to put down a very ugly comment in a very public way.

    • Erick says:

      04:10pm | 09/03/11

      Malohi is absolutely right.

      This article is just a bullying personal attack on a commenter who doesn’t have an equal right of reply.

      I don’t even like NEFFA. I think NEFFA sucks. But attacking her in this way just isn’t fair.

    • Angry Cripple says:

      06:14pm | 09/03/11

      I hereby offer NEFFA an equal right of reply. NEFFA - please email me your column in reply.

    • Rellemh says:

      10:10pm | 09/03/11

      Has NEEFA asked for a right of reply?  Has NEEFA been refused that right?  I don’t see any comment from NEEFA in this thread.
      Malohi, have you ever considered sending in a one of your ‘‘page long essays’ and asking the Punch to publish, or do you just prefer to complain about things without attempting to change them?
      Maybe if more people did as Sue O’Reilly has done, the real issues would be debated.
      Malohi, in diverting this comment thread from the topic being discussed, I feel that you have hijacked the debate on the dire need for improvement to the provision of services for people with disabilities, which can affect any one of us at anytime.

    • Geoff Russell says:

      09:44am | 09/03/11

      I remember being shocked by OECD data in “How Australia Compares”. We
      are at or near the bottom of quite a few lists concerning spending on
      disability groups. I figure it’s a consequence of being “the lucky country” that we
      have become “the greedy country”.  A moron yesterday in Adelaide tried to
      drive his 3 year old BMW across a flooded bridge. Needless to say he needed rescuing and wrote off the car. Was he fussed? No, it was time to upgrade, after all the car was 3 years old! Meanwhile people with disabilities wait for wheelchairs.

    • Jugg says:

      04:18pm | 09/03/11

      So if someone works hard and earns a decent income they are somehow responsible for providing wheelchairs for the disabled???

    • Bitten says:

      10:03am | 09/03/11

      Mmmm…bullying of one poster by adults. Classy.

      Seriously Punch, what is up? The pieces used to be interesting and written by people with some form of journalistic talent. Now it’s more a case of: got a rabid whinge or political party line to beat people over the head with (AKA: any piece by Kate Ellis or Sophie Mirabella)? Write for The Punch!

    • LauraBoBaura says:

      11:00am | 09/03/11

      Sue - I do agree with your point & desperately hope the system gets the overhaul it deserves.
      I just wished you had written your article without the slagging off of one of the posters, it makes it look like your argument can’t stand on it’s own & honestly brings the whole tone of your piece down.

    • Sue O'Reilly says:

      11:08am | 09/03/11

      Hmmm - another intriguing post. Does your first comment, Bitten, mean that you think (or perhaps even know) that NEFFA is a child? (My own guess would be a frustrated, embittered middle-aged man; I can’t imagine a child being so mean-spirited.)
      But since when did deconstructing/analysing/discussing/commenting on someone else’s point of view become “bullying”?  If I had agreed with NEFFA - which as you may note if you read the article again, on one level I do - would the publication of this column be a problem for you? Or is it only a problem because you don’t agree with what’s written?
      But hey - rather than just spitting out silly insults, do you actually have any substantive points/arguments to make in response? because if so, I and I’m sure many others would be interested to read them.
      It’s a process called “debate”, Bitten - a process that is actually now quite popular in many advanced western democracies, including Australia even.

    • Bitten says:

      12:04pm | 09/03/11

      Wow, Sue, you really are determined to take your anger out on people, aren’t you?

      First point: it’s a bit easier to follow in the Punch format if you reply directly to a specific comment. It lets us develop a specific thread rather than starting a new one each time.

      Secondly, I can understand you not liking the suggestion that what you have done with your article is essentially bully an individual. No one likes contemplating the reality that bullying is not confined to the schoolyard perpetrated by under-12s. I’m not sure why you think NEFFA’s age is relevant - you would surely be aware that bullying is formally recognised dysfunctional behaviour that takes place in workplaces throughout the world. Workplaces that is, not schoolyards.  Precious few children in the Australian workplace, Sue. So that bullying obviously takes place between adults, as in this case.

      Thirdly, you might more relevantly target an individual on this topic were that individual, say, a member of government charged with overhauling disability services in this country. That might be a justified individual based attack. Does anyone have any evidence that NEFFA is a member of government charged with overhauling disability services in this country? I don’t think we do. And in relevantly targeting an individual, you might be better to stick to the professional points, rather than personalising.

      Fourthly (sorry to harp but I do enjoy numerate points) I don’t have any, what did you ask me for… ‘substantive points/arguments to make in response’. I don’t because I was frankly too distracted by your bullying attack on one participant of this site’s comment on another article to really pay attention to what you had to say.  In short: your message, be it valid or not, was lost.  Your attempt to patronise me doesn’t help your position either. You’re angry and I can appreciate why. But sadly your anger is misdirected and it’s getting in the way of what you want people to understand.

      As LBB has said, you could improve your approach. You’d probably get your message across to a lot more people, a lot more effectively.

      Finally, my real beef as I clearly point out in my first post, is not with you Sue. It’s with The Punch. It used to be such a lively place to spend some virtual time - now it’s sliding. Whether it’s misdirected ‘rants-masquerading-as-articles’ such as this or the political party sound-bites straight from the horse’s…well, wherever…I’m just wondering where the editorial direction has gone?

    • CD says:

      01:41pm | 09/03/11

      If your complaint Bitten, is with the Punch and not Sue why are you posting here? Talk about carrying it on ....really.

      Take it to the Editor and request an article on comment bullying written by you of course to even it all up. It’s your premise it is bullying not mine or others as I note and this article was based on inaccuracies of perception.

      Then complain if denied.

      Your bullying sounds no better to me than what you accuse Sue of.

    • Bitten says:

      01:56pm | 09/03/11

      Hi CD, not sure why you have a problem with my second post. Sue asked, I answered. It’s the polite thing to do, actually.

    • Rover of North Cooma says:

      02:36pm | 09/03/11

      Bitten, you sound like the angry one. Sue sounds like someone with life experience and a valid point to make.

    • Bitten says:

      03:25pm | 09/03/11

      Hi Rover, not sure where you get anger from my response. Sue asked, I answered. As I said to CD, that is actually the polite thing to do. Polite and angry? Difficult bow to draw. I haven’t made any comment regarding my life experience vis-a-vis Sue’s life experience - that’s entirely conjecture made by you and also entirely without any basis.

    • LauraBoBaura says:

      03:25pm | 09/03/11

      @Rover - yes it is a very valid point. But it is a point that could have been made a lot stronger if it wasn’t cheapened by having a go at a poster on this site. As Bitten said, I think Sue’s anger is misdirected.

    • Erick says:

      04:07pm | 09/03/11

      Bitten, you rock! Your reply says everything that needs to be said.

      As for Sue O’Reilly - straight into the ignore bin with you!

    • Chris L says:

      04:12pm | 09/03/11

      What’s up with that?! Are we now going to see an article railing against Bitten

    • Jugg says:

      04:22pm | 09/03/11

      It’s a common theme here, if you disagree with the main stream feminists apparently you are angry.

      If you disagree with the author, apparently you are angry.

      Challenge their conventional thinking and the best they can do is call you angry.

    • Sue O'Reilly says:

      05:27pm | 09/03/11

      I “don’t like the suggestion that what I have done with my article is essentially bullying an individual”, Bitten, solely because this suggestion of yours is offensive rubbish, and a stupid distraction from the very important point that is actually (supposed to be at least) at issue here.
      How does someone whose identity no one knows, hiding behind a meaningless name, get “bullied” exactly? Your point would only have the slightest semblance of validity if “NEFFA” had asked the editor of Punch for a right of reply, at roughly the same word length, and been refused.
      Is this the case?
      Personally, I would very much like to see such an article from NEFFA, because the type of view he/she originally expressed needs to be well and truly debated, right out in the open, if an NDIS is ever to become reality. And that’s because we have very cowardly politicians these days who make decisions based solely on focus groups, and if the majority of focus groups participants say something like NEFFA did - “why don’t they all just move to Cambodia and see how much support they get there” etc etc - then the many hundreds of thousands of us literally hanging on by our fingernails, praying for the introduction of an NDIS, are stuffed.
      That is the sole reason why the comments of “NEFFA” were worth paying even fleeting attention to - nothing to do with the individual whatsoever; everything to do with the widespread mindset NEFFA’s comments reflect.
      But sadly, you have “no substantive points/arguments to make in response” as I requested - because you were “too distracted” and distressed by the alleged bullying? Well, now that you’ve had several hours to pick youself off the floor and recover from the horror of it all - do you think you might be able to come up with some substantive points/arguments now?
      And finally, Bitten, at the risk of giving you a terminal attack of the vapours, may I ask what it is you have been “Bitten” by? I have my own theories, but it would be way too mean and nasty even for me to say publicly.

    • Carly says:

      07:04pm | 09/03/11

      Scroll down and look at Mel’s comments.

      NEFFA put her/his opinion out there and she/he wanted it to be heard- and now it is. If NEFFA can’t handle someone pointing out how callous her/his opinion was (whether she/he meant it to be or not), then why post in the first place?

      Discourse is needed on this subject and since NEFFA weighed in, it’s fair game. Opinions like this need to be brought to light so misconceptions can be corrected.

    • Bitten says:

      08:32pm | 09/03/11

      Sue, I’m pleased you came back to us. I was never ‘distressed’ by your singular attack on an individual - that’s a conjecture you have chosen to make, seemingly in an attempt to set up your following comment that I should now have had time to pick myself up off the floor and recover - a comment that is in a similar vein to your initial response to me: patronising. And I have to wonder, what is the goal in attempting to patronise someone when what you are allegedly trying to achieve is participation, acknowledgement and agreement with your point of view? Do you want people to support your arguments or do you want people to simply feel antagonised by you? I was only ever, exactly as I said, distracted by your attack on an individual from the main points you allegedly want to get across.

      It’s unlikely that I’m the only one to be put off from listening to what you actually have to say, because of the way you choose to say it. Advocacy is not a pointless skill Sue - persuasion is an art form.

    • Chris L says:

      10:07pm | 09/03/11

      @Sue - It’s called cyberbullying and there’s been plenty of stories on this site about it.

      Not to say I don’t agree with your point. You definately have a good point and hurrah that someone is making it… howevery it is poor form to single out an opponent to harrass in the hopes of making your point.

      I believe I understand Bitten’s point. Have you read her post?

    • Laura G says:

      08:43am | 10/03/11

      To Sue O’Reilly - Sue, I read that you care fulltime for a severely disabled son. I am a carer too, and if your life is anything as stressful and difficult as mine, I’d recommend you ignore Bitten and others of his’/her ilk who seem very determined to miss the point you were actually trying to make.
      You’ve invited Bitten twice now to make substantive points/arguments in response to your article, as opposed to standing up for a poster who frankly sounds big and ugly enough to stand up for him/herself, and Bitten can’t, so my advice would be - ignore Bitten, who sounds like a right smug git. Most people totally get the point you were trying to make.

    • Colleen says:

      01:15pm | 09/03/11

      The title is offensive, and the logo is childish. However, really good to see you have the courage of your convictions and added credibility by puting your name to your article.

    • Peter Bill says:

      03:38pm | 09/03/11

      One of the issues I have been talking about to people who will listen is that the hub of community is broken and until that is fixed then there is no real solution to the issues experienced by people with disabilities in their own communities. The issues of education, policing, community health, health, housing, etc need to consider the cultural implications experienced through the ongoing disabling processes created in institutional processes as part of the lives people with disability experience for some on a daily basis as they make their way in the world. The comments made by the person from Cambodia are relevant in that they are context dependent. The issues is Cambodia as in other countries are very different to Australia and culturally we are very different as well. This however does not detract from the reality of people with disability being housed in cages and locked away due to systems that do not provide access to communication and language. The NDIS is the tip of the iceberg I have personally been looking for on the horizon for many years. It would be behoven of government to fail to act on on the death spiral of disability services in Australia. For people who do not recognise their own disabilities I would suggest that you go for a walk around your suburb. Chances are many of neighbours have disabilities and their families are propping up a system which limits the rights of families as well. I could go on.

    • Mel says:

      04:35pm | 09/03/11

      To those saying how unfair it was to use NEFFA’s comments for this article, I would like to mention that those of us living with disabilities have to deal with hundreds of “NEFFAs” all the time, constantly telling us we’re not as bad as somebody else somewhere else, so shut up and put up. Well you know what? That’s a load of crap. Just because I live in a “wealthy” country doesn’t make it easier. In a wealthy country, people with disabilities and problems are expected to hide away and deal with our own problems, not make the blissfully ignorant masses have to face the truth that there are people suffering and struggling in the very same city, same suburb, the same street as they park their flash new car and walk the dog that gets better vet care than we get health care. In fact, if I was to go table-to-table begging for scraps, do you think the reception here in Australia would be more helpful and accommodating than that in Cambodia? No way. I’d be moved along by employees, bouncers, police. Told to take my problems elsewhere where nobody has to see or think or know about it. Well you know what? We shouldn’t have to hide away and suffer in silence any longer. I need help - I don’t get ANY right now. I need assistance - I’m not eligible for any USEFUL services right now, and the two pitiful ones I am eligible for, one of them has their waitlist closed, the other has told me they’ll put me on the waitlist but I shouldn’t expect to get any help, ever. I need enough money to pay my own rent and buy my own car instead of having to rely on my almost-retirement-age parents to have to do it for me, because when they’re gone, I AM on the street. All you NEFFAs out there, are you going to give me a place to stay? Or are you going to walk past me on the street and say “well you’ve got it better than somebody else somewhere else so you don’t need any assistance”?

    • Yak of the Goldfields says:

      05:08pm | 09/03/11

      Read and acknowledged Mel. Well put.

      Our fears for our children are wrapped up in your post. Best of luck.

    • GTGG says:

      05:40pm | 09/03/11

      Hey Mel
      Can understand your comments mate.  Following an accident my recently disabled husband and I have struggled to obtain information, certain services and assistance, for people livibng with disabilities.

      For us, it started in the hospital.  For all their good intentions, many of the social workers had no clue as to what we were or would be eligible for.  Given that hubby was in a long care unit that has 40 patients at any one time, one would think that the staff would have a very good understanding of what was available and from where.  Even getting things done, such as modifications to our home which have to been done to a certain standard, tooks months - not weeks which it would have taken if the work were done by private contractors.

      Whilst grateful for the limited assistance we have received, we wonder how we will cope as he gets older and his disability worsens as we have been told that many services are cut at age 65!

      We, like many other families of persons living with disabilities, welcome the NDIS and just hope that it is a fully developed policy and not some ad hoc scheme as currently exists.

    • BJ says:

      07:20am | 10/03/11

      Quick question Mel if you’re on the street how can you be posting on the punch? are you the one jacking my wifi?

    • Mel says:

      04:47pm | 15/03/11

      BJ - As you can see from my comment, I’m not on the street yet. But the “yet” scares me. I have no idea what I will do if/when that happens.

      GTGG - The lack of help to find services is astounding, isn’t it. I was granted the disability pension a couple of years ago, and since then have had no help or contact whatsoever to find what services are available to me. I’ve had to do all the searching myself, which is just like landing in a foreign country and trying to get around without speaking the language. We definitely need fluent “interpreters” to help us find our way around.

      Yak of the Goldfields - Thank you. And all the best to you and yours.

    • Elizabeth says:

      06:00pm | 09/03/11

      I absolutely agree with you Neffa. You see, I pay a multitude of taxes towards supporting the unemployed so they can go surfing or watch Foxtel and live in thoroughly modern housing commission homes. None of my family is unemployed so I would rather keep my taxes to support my disabled son so the money I EARN can be used to help him and let them l(the unemployed) live in the third world, beg on the streets and sell their children in to prostitution so they can survive. Sounds pretty stupid doesn’t it??
      But social welfare means taking care of those who need it despite what your own narrow minded, nasty thought process may conjure up.
      Can I just say I had no idea how screwed the whole disability system was until my beautiful so arrived into my life almost 11 years ago. The disabled and their families are not getting a fair go and it is time to kick that ailing system out and get one working.
      Because Neffa if these loving families clap out and hand their disabled family members to the welfare system then you will see how big money will have to be spent!
      Shame on you.

    • BJ says:

      07:32am | 10/03/11

      Why is everyone jumping on Neffa for a random comment? we are better in this country than in others, yes we are worse off than others but we are also not the worst there every is, Neffa wasn’t saying suck it up and be thankful you get something, she/he was merely saying have some thought for people who don’t have it as good as we do here. I haven’t been to Cambodia but I have been to Vietnam and all the Agent Orange victims and other disabled people the way they are treated is heartbreaking, spare some thought for them while you are ranting, go to a third world country and see how they are treated there, yes our benefits could be better, but they could be worse too, glass is not half empty, at least you get something

    • Elizabeth says:

      04:49pm | 10/03/11

      BJ, I guess the reason people have “jumped” on Neffa for his/her “random” comment is that it is so ignorant. Yes, the conditions disabled people are subjected to in third world countries are appalling. I’ve seen it too. But did you know the average Australian parent of a disabled child will receive approx $50 a week as a carer?  Try returning to the workforce when you have a multitude of hospital and therapy appointments to attend. Impossible. My glass at the moment is neither half full or half empty it’s old, chipped and dusty and urgently needs replacing!


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