On 17 March 2008 at around 8:30pm the Australian Federal Parliament secured bipartisan support from members of the two major political parties (Australian Labor Party and Australian Liberal Party) to support a motion by the Member for Gilmore, Mrs Joanna Gash, to improve the services, support and care for Australians with disabilities and their families/carers.
This is the motion:
That the House [of Representatives]:
Calls on the Australian Parliament to adopt a bipartisan approach to improving the provision and delivery of disability support and care to Australians living with severe and permanent disability, their families and/or their carers;
Considers that for too long the ball of responsibility for the funding and delivery of disability support and care has been kicked between Federal and State governments and that game has to end; and
Considers that the Federal Parliament must address the need for improved disability funding, support and services to see progress is continued beyond the individual terms of governments and is coordinated at such a level that intergovernmental disability service provision is clear, concise and indisputable.
Thank you to those politicians who initiated, debated and supported this motion in Parliament. Your support means much to many, many family carers of adults and children with disabilities.
The glaring discrepancy between the life choices of Australians in general, and those with a disability and their carers, is unbelievable. It is truly horrific that an affluent nation like Australia could choose to continue to be so oblivious to the circumstances its most vulnerable citizens are forced to endure.
As the motion implies, families caring for a person with a disability simply don’t care whether State, Federal or local politicians and government departments are responsible for support and service provision to people with disabilities and their carers.
We want national political recognition of the terrible problems that have arisen due to lack of government ownership of this important humanitarian and economic issue.
We want input into long-term, funded, targeted, functional solutions that meet our needs, not the agendas of a government department or disability advocate.
We trust that people with disabilities and their family carers will be invited to directly share their views, experiences, and proposed solutions to any Parliamentary groups, committees or drafting of legislation which may occur.
Baby steps, let’s keep it moving. Nothing will change unless we make it happen.