We finally have an election date! We hope, like our family, you are starting to think about who deserves your vote.
It will be my son’s first time voting in a federal election, and we want to help him make an informed decision about his vote. We’ve found some helpful resources about the process of voting. You’ll find these later in this article.
We’ve also started looking for accessible resources about the candidates, parties, and policies. It’s disappointing that there is almost no information of this kind written in Easy English. The notable (and unsurprising) exception is this Easy English explainer document on the home page of Senator Jordan Steele-John’s website.
We know several families who, like us, are now crafting their own accessible explainer documents so their young adult children can confidently take part in the democratic process on Saturday, 21 May. For these families, the almost-universal lack of accessible information has become an issue they plan to raise with their local candidates.
Another crucial election issue for many recipients of this newsletter is likely to be the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).
When it was first conceived, the NDIS represented economic and social reform that put people with disability first. It was designed to help people with impairment have the same level of access to typical opportunities as other Australians enjoy:
- good health
- lifelong learning
- a place to call home
- meaningful employment
- financial security
- authentic and enduring relationships, and
- opportunities to contribute in many ways, including being a taxpayer.
The Scheme was designed to invest early in people with disability to improve outcomes later in life. This approach meant the NDIS would
- be good for people with disability and
- reduce the cost of the Scheme over the long run.
It was planned that the Scheme would provide peace of mind to all Australians by ensuring that support would be there if and when they needed it. In the meantime, all Australians would enjoy the more diverse, inclusive community that the NDIS would help build.
Importantly, it presented an opportunity for people with disability to choose their own support – how, when, and where services and support are delivered – according to what works best for them.
In short, the NDIS was designed to help people with disability access The Good Life with individualised and respectful support that met each person’s needs. It was supposed to ensure no missing out, no more waiting lists, and no more “one size fits all”.
But the NDIS as we know it is under threat. It appears to be moving away from its original promise to people with disability.
In recent months, individuals across Australia have experienced
- Less flexibility in their plans
- Often significant cuts to their funding.
- Months-long waits for reviews
- The need to enter the gruelling Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) process. The number of people fighting to get their NDIS support back through the AAT has recently increased by more than 300%.
- Unreasonable requests for evidence to justify their eligibility for the NDIS
- Stressful meetings with planners and LACs. (We note that they are also often stressed and burnt out by working in an increasingly broken system)
- An increasing administrative burden
- Confusion due to the reduced transparency about rules and decisions
- Having to make impossible choices between their needs because of slashes to funding.
Meanwhile, the NDIA is spending tens of millions of dollars on external private lawyers to fight the people they are meant to serve.
This is not the NDIS we want and not the NDIS that was initially envisioned.
With an election looming, it’s time to #DefendOurNDIS.
That’s what the Every Australian Counts campaign aims to do in 2022.
Every Australian Counts is the grassroots movement that fought for the introduction of the NDIS. They are a community of hundreds of thousands of people with disability, their families and carers and those who support them, all working together to fight for a fair go for Australians with disability.
The movement continues to fight to make sure the NDIS delivers on its promise to people with disability.
It’s asking affected and concerned Australians, like you and me, to raise the issues with our local candidates hoping to get our vote at the next election.
We need to be loud so that the candidates and parties can hear us. At present, the NDIS is rarely mentioned in the election coverage.
We need to let candidates know that if they want our vote, they need to pledge to make positive changes to the NDIS when they are elected.
Thursday, 28 April, has been set as the Election ’22 National Day of Action. It’s a day that will show the current government and election hopefuls that many Australians see defending the NDIS as a critical election issue.
Please plan to visit the Every Australian Counts website to see the upcoming events in the next few days. Or plan to host your own event (don’t forget to register it on the EAC website!).
In the meantime, I hope you’ll consider doing one of the following:
- Visit the Every Australian Counts website to learn more about the issues.
- Sign the pledge to take part in the National Day of Action
- Create and share social media content with the hashtag #DefendOurNDIS
- Share the message by wearing a t-shirt or displaying a sticker.
- Speak to family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, candidates, and professionals about the issues facing the NDIS. Explain why fighting for an NDIS that works for everyone is so important. Ask them also to sign the pledge and get involved
- Sign the open letter that Every Australian Counts will deliver to parliament
- Share your NDIS cuts and appeals stories. Your stories will help the EAC understand how significant these cuts are, who they affect (and how), and what needs to change.
- Meet your local candidates and let them know what you or your family member needs to enjoy the good life like every other Australian. If we don’t tell our candidates, some of the most important issues may not be on their radar. So I urge you to be vocal in the next few weeks. You can use the Meeting with your MP guide from the Every Australian Counts website for some ideas.
- Download customisable posters, letterbox flyers, sharegraphics, and more! (From the Every Australian Counts website)
The Every Australian Counts website is being actively updated with resources for the upcoming election, so do keep an eye on it over the coming weeks. Please also watch our weekly Events Updates for more information about the National Day of Action.
Thanks so much for your support.