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Showing posts from July, 2014

You Gonna Be the One that Pays Me?

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I wrote you a song. It's for all you 'token people'. Not just people with disability, but anyone who has ever been asked to 'be part of a working group/focus group/committee' to provide 'a voice for your people'. That's us. The guys sitting around the table, day after day, passionately advocating on behalf of our fellow disabled people, indigenous people, people from CALD backgrounds, LGBTI communities. Our presence is valued, they assure us, and we are always profusely thanked for our passionate words and lived experience and valuable input. Then why do they insist on trying to pay us with movie tickets and taxi vouchers and left over food?You sit around the table with a bunch of people who are being paid by the hour. The service providers and the executives and the junior who just started last week and who is really keen to learn. And you spend the next three hours talking about the legislation and the service standards and giving your recommen…

The Minister said…what?

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There’s a war going on. You might not see the war, because it is a complicated political war, with nuances deep within the disability and government sectors. Wars are organised conflicts that are characterised by social and economic disruption. There are often prisoners, who are held to isolate them or exploit them for their labour. And in all wars, there are casualties. I read this article by NSW Minister John Ajaka this morning. Mr Ajaka bemoans the politicisation of disability in NSW, and reminds the population that the NDIS has nothing to do with the closure of institutions like Stockton, tells us that he doesn’t want to get the positive NDIS stories get lost in a political battle. So far, all good. Then half way through the article, there appears a line that makes me blink and look twice. ‘Regardless of the NDIS, large residential centres are being redeveloped and every existing resident, including the high-needs clients, will be catered for.’Excuse me, Minister? You said…w…

The Right to Something Real

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I'm reading a brochure at the moment. It's for a cluster house proposal, a purpose built congregate care facility for people with disability. In the literature, it has the title 'Better than a Nursing Home.'I beg your pardon?It's symptomatic of the way that we promote 'second best' as something desirable in the disability sector. 'Better than a Nursing Home'. You'll be more happy there than you would be in a nursing home or a hospice. The brochure goes on to talk about 'your happy family' - 'there is no build up of resentment towards you', it says. It's like those other brochures that talk about 'accommodation' and 'residential settings' and a 'home-like atmosphere'. Or becoming an 'intern' to learn 'vocational, work readiness, training and skills development'. Or being a 'participant' instead of an 'employee', in a place where you and the people supervise you hav…

Parking Oversights from the Not Very Smart

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What do you do when the disability community is outraged about being charged for parking at public railway stations?Label the decision an 'oversight', of course. And remedy the situation by stinging members of the general public with a two dollar a day parking fee, but letting disabled passengers park for free. It's not an equitable decision for the general public, unless you take into account that Australia ranks 21 of 29 OECD nations for employment of people with disability. And with barriers like the cost of disability, the slashing of the disability support pensions and societal attitudes to people with disability, a two dollar a day penalty is hardly an initiative that will promote inclusion for Australians with disability. That's why we were gobsmacked to receive these photographs at the Australian Disability Parking Wall of Shame. They show one of two accessible Transperth parking bays with the universal access symbol removed - and a 'SmartParker' mac…

Why We'd Never Publish A Photo Of The Queen In A Diaper

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"An image of an incontinent Queen Elizabeth wearing a nappy has been published in a News of the World publication. The Queen, who did not give her permission to be photographed, was sleeping at the time, wearing only a continence aide. Buckingham Palace cleaner Anita Bath said that the use of the image was justified in the fight to improve the working conditions of cleaners across the United Kingdom. 'The image accurately depicts the condition that older people find themselves in, and consequently the hardship that is imposed upon underpaid cleaners across the UK,' she said. 'I have personally had to clean up not only the Queen's urine but also an occasional royal turd.'The Queen was not asked for comment."Funny, right? And it would almost certainly never happen. Why? Because the Queen does not have a disability. This image is the cause of much current controversy between people with disability and carers. The image, which depicts sixteen year old Ju…