Allan Takes Aim Blog

I welcome the federal budget

Posted on: 16 May 2012


Shorty version published The Chronicle, Canberra, Tuesday 16/5/12

While some economists might welcome last week’s budget, battlers will remember it as the horror budget that included the unwelcome carbon tax that will make them poorer and their battles to escape poverty even harder. And no doubt Treasurer Swan will be glad to lay claim to the dubious fame of having achieved a surplus albeit that it was achieved at the expense of battlers.

Having said that no doubt you will accuse me of cynicism when I say I welcome the Federal Budget not, I hasten to add, because I agree with the economists and Treasurer Swan and other budget measures I think disagreeable but, because just as every dark cloud has a silver lining, the budget announcement of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is this budget’s silver lining.

That it is a silver lining is due to it being one of the most, if not most significant pieces of legislation because it brings hope of new life to many people with a disability and carers. Thousands of carers will welcome the NDIS, as will health professionals whose lives have been devoted to helping improve the lifestyle of people with a disability. These people will welcome the NDIS with a huge sigh of relief because it is an initiative that has been a long time coming even if it will take time to be fully implemented.

Although it has come too late for me my enthusiasm for the NDIS is because it will help many people with a disability join the wider community and become part of what erroneously is called ‘normal’ society. Speaking for myself and also as a member of a family that had two physically disabled members, neither was ever thought of as anything but normal.

And I am still connected with disability. Within my large extended family, I have a niece and nephew each with a different disability. A twenty one years old nephew is autistic and a forty three years old niece has a mental disability. However, having been encouraged to be proud of their disability they have not allowed it to hinder them in life. They are productive members of society, my nephew stacking shelves in a supermarket and my niece working in childcare.

However, I find it unfortunate that in today’s allegedly tolerant society there are still people who use the word disability as a pejorative. If you are one of them I say to you: people who use disability as a pejorative are people whose disability is even greater that the people they are trying to disparage.

As for the NDIS, it will be a boon for family members because for many years many in authority exploited their humanity by taking it for granted that it was their duty to care for disabled family members. It is not before time that their humanity is being recognised. Carers will also be pleased the community at large supports that recognition.

Importantly too, for many of them, the NDIS will help ease the financial burden they face in caring for a disabled family member.
Apart from family members, thousands of volunteer carers will also gain recognition for helping the disabled. These special people have no thought of reward other than the joy they get when, with their help, they see people with a disability for whom they care, join in activities with members of the wider community.

At the same time, family carers and volunteer carers all of whom are a special breed of human being beings recognise that, although the NDIS has been a long time coming, it will be some time before every person with a disability and every carer will receive a benefit.

Ironically the idea of the NDIS was as one of the great ideas raised at the forum staged five years ago in the early days of Kevin Rudd’s Prime Ministership. That apart, it is pleasing to note that the legislation was passed without being affected by partisan politics, perhaps encouraged by the words of Victor Hugo: “a stand can be made against an army; no stand can be made against the invasion of a good idea.”

I only wish such political co-operation happened more often.
dca@netspeed.com.au
The Chronicle for Canberra’s best community news now online. Published eevery Wednesday at:chronicleonline.com.au

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