ABC’s Q&A had their disability special last night and we hope you tuned in! The panel of Dylan Alcott, Kiruna Stamell, Graeme Innes, Bruce Bonyhady and Catia Malaquias were asked lots of good questions by the audience, and the discussion ranged everywhere from how the NDIS is rolling out, to the inclusion of kids with disability in schools, to employment discrimination.
Q&A tell us they have never had so many questions for one show before. They were swamped by all the questions you sent in. There was definitely a lot to get through, and the conversation is still going over on the Every Australian Counts twitter page. But just in case you missed it here’s a quick summary of the biggest questions and answers we heard from Q&A:
- The NDIS has given us hope, but there’s still a lot to be done
Ten years ago, the disability service system was broken. Services for our community were underfunded, unfair, fragmented and gave us no choice. We fought for the NDIS because we wanted that to change. And we are getting there – but there’s still a lot to be done to get the scheme where we need it to be. Choice and control are fundamental to the NDIS, and the Federal Government must fix the problems like staff shortages and planning problems and consistency issues to make sure the NDIS works for everyone.
- All our voices are crucial for getting the NDIS right
Right now the NDIS isn’t working for everyone and that needs to change. The panel and the audience agreed that the fundamentals of the NDIS are still strong, but the National Disability Insurance Agency and all the governments involved need to listen to people with disability, their families and carers to really get the scheme right. The NDIS is an investment in our community, and no one knows what we need better than us.
- “Changing attitudes changes lives” – Graeme Innes
Everyone agreed that negative and discriminatory attitudes toward people with disability still exist. These attitudes impact our lives, and stop us from being able to get out and do the things we want to do. Kiruna suggested that a lot of this was because our community was not truthfully represented in the media. Catia agreed that we need to hear the voices of people with disability more to challenge these awful and false stereotypes. And as she sadly noted, nowhere is this more clear than in the media reporting around people with disability killed by family members.
- There should always be supports outside the NDIS
The NDIS was never meant to be an oasis in a desert. People who are not eligible for the NDIS still need programs and supports to help them. There should never be a cliff outside the scheme. We need strong leadership by all our governments to ensure that no one falls through the gaps.
- Society must be inclusive
Every Australian Counts Champion Ben Paior-Smith asked two great questions about including kids with disability in mainstream schools and housing for when he moves out of home. (His mum also made it pretty clear she wants him to move out of home too!) The panel agreed that we need a fully inclusive society – from the first day of school, to the first job, to the first day living independently. But they also agreed people with disability still face so many barriers to achieving these very ordinary milestones. We can’t build an inclusive society without everyone getting a fair go. We deserve choice and control over our lives as much as the next person. And that is what the NDIS must provide.
And most important of all – the NDIS is not the answer to everything. As the discussion made so clear, we need change in all areas of life – attitudes, employment, education, housing, transport, health care, and the list goes on. Until all these things change, people with disability will not have the same opportunities in life as others in the community. So as Kiruna said we all need to band together and keep fighting until they do.
There was so much discussed it can’t all be covered here, but those were our favourite parts of the episode. Share what you found most interesting with the Every Australian Counts community over on our Twitter page (@EveryAustralian) or on our Facebook page and keep the conversation going!