Allan Takes Aim Blog

Real and political disability

Posted on: 14 July 2011


First published The Chronicle, Tuesday July 12, 2011

 I feel sure I’m not the only columnist who experiences writers’ block and also hopes the old adage ‘wish for something hard enough and you’ll get it,’ is true. Fortunately, I don’t block up often but when I do it’s usually it’s because the subjects that come to mind bore me.

Regular readers will know the subjects I write about usually are political. Indeed of the nearly 900 columns I’ve written for The Chronicle over the years, most were about politics, the Assembly in particular, some of whose elected Members are so boring it seems almost miraculous that voters actually go to a polling booth on election day and vote for them.

But perhaps it wasn’t an interest in politics that took people to the polling booth but the fact that they believed if they didn’t vote they could end up being fined. However, as with many things political, this is not fact but fiction. It is true, of course, that if you don’t get your name crossed of the electoral roll you will be fined unless you have an exemption. However, once your name is crossed off the roll, it isn’t compulsory to vote. On the other hand because the right to vote is one of our most valuable democratic rights it might be instructive to read or listen to what the various candidates have to say before going to the polling booth. But be warned: if, after deciding to exercise your democratic right, simply voting for a party often brings the same result as buying a job lot at a sale: you might be lucky and get one item of value but the remainder is junk.

Last week struck by one of my occasional spells of writers’ block I sat at the computer, looking out the window, wishing for a subject to write about as hard as ever I have wished about winning the lottery. Now I don’t whether it was my wishing hard that was effective but, whatever the cause, my wish came true and brought me two interesting things to write about: one about people with disability; the other about a political party. 

The subject of disability interests me, firstly because my own disability and secondly because my experience in the disability field has made me aware that people with a disability are not usually regarded as people with a positive attitude to life.

But that people with a disability have positive attitudes was exemplified at a morning tea in the Brassey Hotel when $11,000 that the ACT Association for Assisting Disabled Sport and Recreation (ACTAADS) Inc had raised from McDonald’s Canberra Restaurants and the Canberra Labor Club Group, were given as grants to thirteen people with a disability to further aid development of skills to help them participate in the wider community.

Chosen from multiple applicants with various degrees of serious disability, the grace with which recipients acknowledged the grants made me feel humble and inadequate considering the challenges they face that the rest of us can only begin to imagine.

In a political sense the Community Alliance Party (CAP), could be tagged as disabled which is why I was pleased to accept an invitation to be one of a panel of guest speakers at a conference they had organised for 2 July.

At the conference, Malcolm Mackerras spoke about the ACT’s voting system; Ric Hingee, about Government spending practices; Professor Jenny Stewart, about Community Councils, Canberra author Caroline Ambrus about the front row of politics); Damian Hass, on light Rail; Jack Kershaw on planning; Jenny Goldie on population; Stuart Gordon on solar power; Mike Crowther on Law Enforcement; Gerry Gillespie, on ‘Revolve’; Trevor Cobbold on education; and myself on Tourism.

While the speakers were interesting of more interest was that the flame of democracy still burned brightly in the Community Alliance and, despite its failure to win a seat in the 2008 election, it intended to challenge again in 2012.

As for my comparison with the disabled, in preparation for the conference, I researched various media for reports on CAP but could only find reports from 2008. On the basis of the conference alone, it seems to me that CAP deserves to be reported.

The Chronicle for Canberra’s best Community News. Published every Tuesday.

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5 Responses to "Real and political disability"

Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is just great and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

This is so great. I always find such interesting stuff when I stumble onto this site again and again!
I’m going to be sharing this. Facebook here we come!

Thanks for your continuing interest in the CAP.

Hey there! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

You can certainly see your skills in the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart. “Experience is a good school, but the fees are high.” by Heinrich Heine.

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