Thursday, November 16, 2006

An angry email I just sent to the Age

As a volunteer in the disability sector, I attended this week the pre-election forum held by the Coalition for Disability Rights, and felt depressed and disturbed to learn that, at this stage of the election campaign, neither major party has yet revealed its policy on disability services, and people have already begun to vote postally! The Minister for Community Services, Sheryl Garbutt, described the ALP's, almost with some smugness, as "a closely guarded secret", and I have the feeling that both major parties must have something to hide in this area. The Shadow Minister, Andrea Coote, seemed no better, as I learned that in her whole time in Parliament she has only put one question on disability services to Parliament, on record in Hansard, and doesn't an Opposition have to continually put hard questions to the government, to represent a viable Opposition? I think that both major parties have to hide their extremely low prioritisation of people with disabilities, their carers and families, and their extremely high support needs, and quality of life issues!

The promised universal wheelchair access in public buildings should begin with Parliament House itself, as I would have found it impossible to accompany a wheelchaired client on the Parliament House tour, as I could an able-bodied one!

I felt further appalled and outraged to read on page 1 of the Age yesterday (Wednesday) that this government can find $10,000,000 to spend on more guns for police, and the Victorian police at that, with their trigger-happy reputation, including taser stun guns and semi-automatics. I don't know what everyone else thinks, but I think it shows pretty skew-whiff and dodgy priorities, when they think that people expect to welcome them back with open arms for this, as if we need more police guns, like the proverbial hole in the head? How about thinking about real people with real needs, as in the disability services sector, for a change?

Yours sincerely,

Claire Pedersen


P.S. A pox on both their houses, and more power to People Power!

P.P.S. And it has not only snowed in November: it has also apparently snowed in southern Queensland in November - unheard of! Hell freezes over as we speak, but hopefully the rain has gone some way towards ending the drought! ;-O

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