As government MPs are inundated with thousands of furious emails about our treatment of farm animals, the nation has quietly forgotten an issue which goes to our treatment of kids with autism and Downs Syndrome, kids with paralysing physical disabilities which require full-time care, and the lot of those families whose relationships and wallets are tested by their children’s needs.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme has not only stalled, it is being chipped away at by people who argue that the budget bottom line simply cannot sustain such an expensive scheme. The NDIS is the easiest thing in the world to set aside on cost grounds, because the cost is immense.
The free market think tank The Centre for Independent Studies has crunched some numbers showing the cost of the NDIS could be $7 billion higher than first envisaged.
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Eds note: Next week news.com.au will be launching a campaign in support of the NDIS with the assistance of the families of children with disabilities. It is the website’s view that this a matter of national importance which can and should be resolved immediately.
Most of us think we have problems. In reality we don’t have any problems at all. If you think you have got problems there is a very special and largely unrepresented group of Australians you should talk to, after which you will skulk off with your tail between your legs, feeling somewhat shamefaced at the imagined hardships in your life.
Last Sunday I wrote a column about the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It was not something I had written about before. The impetus for the piece came about by chance. While getting a coffee on a city street, a boy aged about five wandered up to me and into the path of a car.
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On Tuesday morning I was getting a coffee near my Adelaide office when something really awful happened.
A little boy aged about four or five wandered up to me on his own as I was waiting at the intersection. He was walking around as if in dreamland. He stepped onto the road into the path of a taxi. A woman standing next to me screamed and I stuck out my arm and grabbed him. His parents were nowhere to be seen.
The two of us stood with him, asking where Mum and Dad were. He couldn’t talk very clearly, and was sort of mumbling to himself.
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This week’s Angry Cripple column is by Tom Bridge, who graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with a Bachelor of Arts, completing a double major in Ethics and Human Rights and Political Studies. He was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and blogs at Aussie Pollies...
Most people run a mile from the idea of the government regulating too many aspects of their lives. But in light of the way people with a disability have been dealt with - or not dealt with - particularly since de-institutionalisation, a strong argument exists for much more government interference. It would be beneficial if the three different levels of government ran interference and legislated for much stronger, even mandatory accessibility provisions.
Governments of both political persuasions at the local state and federal level have baulked at any major action on accessibility for some years now and that is not good considering the growing number of people with a disability, including the ageing population who will also face accessibility issues.
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Sue O’Reilly, who has guest written today’s column on The Angry Cripple, is a freelance journalist. She is is a parent and raised her son with cerebral palsy until last year, when he died at the age of 21. She co-founded Australians Mad as Hell 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.
When does any form of disability turn into a “disease” to be eradicated?
When it is being discussed by doctors and medical researchers seeking money from governments, corporate donors and members of the public to fund research aimed at finding ways to prevent and/or cure some form of disability.
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How would you feel if you found out that your mere existence is such a burden on your parents they want $10 million compensation?
It’s not clear whether 11-year-old Keeden, who has severe brain damage after a rare genetic condition caused a massive stroke, will ever understand what his parents are doing.
Debbie and Lawrence Waller are suing their IVF specialist for “wrongful birth”, claiming he breached his duty of care by failing to take proper care that Lawrence’s genetic blood clotting condition would not be passed on. They say they love Keeden, but wouldn’t have gone ahead with the birth if they’d known because of his suffering.
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According to world-renowned expert in child abuse Dr Freda Briggs, paedophile websites frequently recommend to their filthy readers that they target children with Down syndrome because they are “willing to please” and “easy to manipulate”.
I have a young son with Down syndrome.
He is a national treasure who won the 25 metre freestyle at the State Special Olympics Swimming carnival on Saturday. I know I don’t hold the trademark on parental love, but when I am with him, I’m confident that I could at least try to register it. He is loving, trusting, and has velvet soft skin.
No cigars for guessing my deepest fear.
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This week’s Angry Cripple column is brought to you by Simon J. Green, a Melbourne producer and writer. He has cystic fibrosis and all his limbs. Reach out to him at simonjgreen.com. NOTE: There’s some naughty words and stuff in this column.
Cripples have sex.
That’s what I discovered the other week when I published an article for US-based online lit journal The Nervous Breakdown. In the article, I explained that I’m technically a cripple, and that I’ve also had sex. I wrote:
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Spin the wheel, throw the coins, double down… This week looks to have been pretty big for people with disabilities.
Monday marked day one of the first National Disability and Carer Congress (NDCC), with more than 1000 interested folk paying to hear about how lousy their lives are now, and how much better a National Disability Insurance Scheme will be for everyone.
On Tuesday we heard that not only had the Victorian Government pledged a $210 million boost to disability-related education and supported accommodation places, but also that the PM (who declined to speak at the NDCC and sent Shorten instead) has announced, while kneeling at the desks of children with special needs at a local primary school, an extra $200 million to support kids with disabilities in schools.
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Andrew Devenish-Meares, who has written this week’s Angry Cripple guest column, has been slowly losing his sight for the past 14 years, and has been described as “pretty bloody blind”. He works as IT Coordinator for a peak not-for-profit body.
Last week my morning train pulled into Redfern station as normal. There was the usual struggle to get off the train, dodging and weaving around the people who just stand there and won’t move. I got out and followed the noise to somewhere near the bottom of the stairs, which I managed to miss. When my cane hit the side of the lower stairs, I realised my mistake and doubled back.
I trudge up the stairs with the throngs and enter the concourse. I reach the stairs to platforms four and five, which are set back. While listening for people coming up the stairs, the background noise makes it impossible to work out if the path is clear, if people are standing in the way, or if there’s actually traffic there. Slowing down, I pass the entrance to the platform as the cane finds only empty space. I take two steps forward before I’m hit first on my left side and, as I bounce off him, spin slightly and try to move forward, I’m hit from the right. Double whammy.
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The Productivity Commission has released its draft report on a National Disability Insurance Scheme. The Commission has found that the current system is “underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports.”
The draft report recommends a new Scheme, funded directly out of consolidated revenue, or the use of a tax levy as a “second-best option.”
The Commission will continue to examine the proposal in coming months and issue a final report in July. The draft is an important contribution to the national discussion about disability, especially for around 360,000 people with severe lifetime disability. It deserves close attention, predicated on a belief that comprehensive assistance for those people who require lifetime care and support for catastrophic injuries is an important national objective. Having seen my parents-in-law cope with a son disabled from birth, I know first-hand the emotional, financial and family challenges involved.
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