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Browsing articles in "You Count – Campaigners in Action"
May 2, 2014
Geraldine Mellet

Dont Mess with the NDIS on the airwaves

In addition to thousands of emails that reached the Prime Minister, State Premiers and Chief Minister in the last 24 hours,  campaigners took to the media to spell out the effects of  the recommendations of the Commission of Audit to people with disabilities and their families.

Among the most vocal were EAC’s Fiona Anderson and WA campaigner Jo Russell who talked about what it means at the frontline of disability and family life to hear the timeline and funding of the NDIS called into question yet again. Fiona also referred to the fact that in the last quarterly review individual funding packages were actually coming down which begged the question of why there needed to be talk of capping, particularly at this early stage of the process.  Click on the bottom two links to listen.


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Aug 14, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

Diary of DisabilityCare Experience – Lynne Foreman

Lynne Foreman is a Geelong resident who has been one of the foremost campaigners for the NDIS in her area She is also someone who knows personally about what a difference this reform can make, having been on a waiting list for 9 years with only a modest amount of emergency support. 

While visiting relatives in WA,  over the last two weeks Lynne was willing to don the campaign t-shirt and talk about her experience as one of the first people in Australia to go through the DisabilityCare system and receive a support package, including a component which allowed her to access equipment and support during her holiday in WA.  She is pictured above with members of the MS Outreach Society.

Lynne has Arthrogryposis (Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita) which is a muscle disorder that causes multiple joint contractures at birth. (A contracture is a limitation in the range of motion of a joint). This is how she describes it:

I was born with my legs crossed across my chest, deformed feet (my feet now are the size of a 3 year olds and I have no toes) stiff joints mainly from my hips down, on my hands I do have a few fingers which have no top joints. At the age of 49 they discovered my neck also has been fused in the 2 top vertebras from birth.  

Lynne talked about her firsthand experience noting the immediate difference of DisabilityCare as a ‘one stop shop’ where she can get information any time she needs it as well as her main support package. She found the service timely and flexible, although some of the language in the documents was a little confusing. She particularly appreciatedfeatures such as the portal which enables her to keep track of what support she is entitled to and what she’s used and how that makes the care provider accountable.

Lynne kept a diary of her experience and you can read it here.

Jun 13, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

PM hears from WA campaigners

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met a group of Every Australian Counts campaigners in Rockingham WA today and listened to their experiences of accessing disability support.  With Minister Gary Gray, the member for Brand, she spent almost an hour listening to each and every person of with a disability and family members.  Included in these stories was a tale of a woman who was forced to live in a nursing home as a forty year old because of lack of accomodation and how she fought her way out, families who had to reach crisis to access support, or give up jobs to manage care and incur huge financial and social consequences.  Most of these stories were included in a book presented to the PM made up of personal experiences sent in by WA EAC members.  You can read it here :WA & Disability The Real Story June 2013 The PM was touched when Tom Softly (pictured) presented her with a fantastic photo calendar from Down Syndrome Association WA and flowers and a brooch from one of the youngest campaigners 8 year old Denver Bull.


Feb 1, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

150 shades of grey – a very different take on the NDIS Legislation

Ever wondered what the NDIS Legislation might have in common with the infamous novel Fifty shades of Grey?  Wonder no longer.  

Guerilla advocacy group The Bolshy Divas have drawn some pretty interesting parallels in their submission to the Senate Committee Inquiry.

 Here’s a sample ” …if you’re looking for a tale about power – who the dominant powers are and who has the smallest voice – you’ve got it….and just because we’re invited to make a submission – we don’t have to be…well submissive. Its our lives, after all. And isnt that what disability reform is supposed to be about? Changing the balance of power?”

You can read more of this very different submission and many more from around Australia on the Senate Committee’s website 

Nov 16, 2012
Geraldine Mellet

Letter to Ken Wyatt MP: Make Aust a first world provider

 Thank you to all who have emailled their federal MPs in our latest action… and for those who haven’t yet,  you still have time.  Whether your story is brief or detailed when you put all of them together they form a picture of the huge numbers waiting for an NDIS, and what its like to be in that holding pattern.  And in putting stories to the numbers it makes the personal political.  Here’s an example of a very candid, heartfelt letter to Ken Wyatt MP (electorate of Hasluck, WA ) which asks him to speak up in his party room and make sure Australia becomes a first world provider of disability support.  Thank You Donna and family.
 Dear Ken,
                       in our family, my husband and I struggle to work full-time and support our three children (now young adults). Of these three children, two have multiple, unrelated disabilities. Like many in Western Australia, our extended family is spread out across the state and we have little or no support from them. This leaves us dependent on paid support services which are rationed out and often unreliable. The level of training and care provided by these support workers is highly variable and having to go through the process of explaining our family members requirements and household routine on a regular basis is often emotionally and physically exhausting. Nor is it pleasant to have a constant stream of ‘visitors’ through your home judging your lifestyle on their own narrow perceptions.

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Sep 25, 2012
Geraldine Mellet

Disabilitea on wheels in NT

With close to a thousand Disabiliteas across Australia there are some wildly different variations.

The Northern Territory is taking out the earlybird prize for their version of Disabilitea on wheels.

Patriots Australia NT Chapter Motorcycle Club is inviting all motorcyclists to join them in supporting the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) campaign with a DisabiliTEA ride on Sunday 21 October 2012, leading the pack as one of the first of the 2012 DisabiliTEA events to be held across Australia.

The Patriots are a motorcycle club for regular, reserve and ex-serving members of the defence force (Army, Navy and Air Force.

The Patriots NT Chapter will meet at Caltex Berrimah at 10.00am for a 10.30am departure, riding through Darwin city centre and joining NDS NT at 11am for a sausage sizzle, complete with cups of tea, on the Nightcliff foreshore.       For more details contact Bec on 0439858770

If you have a point of difference about your Disabilitea let the coordinators know so we can promote it –;; ;

Sep 14, 2012
Geraldine Mellet

Every Australian Counts at the City to Bay

The Every Australian Counts campaign will be on the run on Sun Sep 16 in Adelaide.

1000 wheelers, walkers and runners will don their red Every Australian Counts tshirts as they unite under the NDIS banner and go the distance in the annual fun run which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Thanks to Bedford for taking the lead and also to Autism SA; Leveda; SCOSA; Dignity for Disability; SASRAPID; CARA and MINDA.

Jul 23, 2012
Geraldine Mellet

AMA listens as West Australia talks about the NDIS

The Australian Medical Association has been a strong supporter of the introduction of the NDIS  & NIIS  and has its own internal panel keeping up to date with the latest developments but also what people with a disability and their families want in these new schemes. Perth paediatrician and paediatric consultant Dr Kate Langdon is the sole WA representative on that panel. Kate has a keen interest and involvement with children with severe disability and ABIs.  Ahead of the AMA’s national meeting she was keen to be briefed on experiences and opinions from Western Australia. Last Friday she came to a five hour meeting where tireless WA campaigners told their own stories and reflected on what had been their biggest issues to date and how they would like to see the system change.  Below is the letter she wrote to all those who attended pledging to pass on their hard won experience.
Hello everyone, 

Thank you all so much for giving me your time and wisdom on Friday. I was humbled by your fortitude, amazed by your energy and insights and distressed by hearing some of your struggles, particularly the avoidable ones. 

I hope in truth that I can adequately represent you given the diverse powers and talents I saw and heard on display.  It was wonderful to learn of all the groups that you represent and all the energy and passion that you have directed into them.  

Thank you for your candour.  It was clear that baring your soul (and sometimes selling it) seems to be a standard expectation of people in the disability world and I appreciate your willingness to let me know the details of your conditions and those of your families. I hope I put your trust and good faith to a good purpose.  That is my intention.     

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Jul 17, 2012
Geraldine Mellet

No doubt about the message – Lock in the NDIS NOW!

When COAG meets next week they will be in no doubt that Australians want them to lock in the NDIS now because they will see the same message in black and white as they read  the heartfelt words of thousands of Australians.

A huge thank you to our campaigners from every corner of the nation who have responded to our call to send the PM and Premiers a message, with thousands continuing to pour in.   They come from individuals with disabilities plus parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends who all say they want the certainty of a guaranteed NDIS to ease the present difficulties with system and give them peace of mind for the future for themselves or their loved ones. They come from people who work in the disability sector, giving as much as they can, but who want change for all those they see distressed on a daily basis. And they come from those who may not be personally affected but are adamant that as a nation there must be action not talk in making a fair Australia for those with disabilities and that for them it is their foremost priority. As campaigner Hilary Nichols wrote so succintly  “The NDIS is my number one National priority – forget the Carbon tax, the NBN or anything else. My vote will be based entirely upon the NDIS“. Or as Anna Kelly said The NDIS has to happen. I can’t imagine our family’s future without it”.

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Jul 6, 2012
James O'Brien

Winter recess – time to see the pollies again: message from David Pearce OAM


You may remember me? I’m David Pearce, a Tasmanian campaigner for the NDIS.

Living with Cerebral Palsy Quadriplegia has not prevented me from being a serving Alderman on the Glenorchy City Council, or the current President of Advocacy Tasmania.

Earlier this year, I was proud to speak at the NDIS: Make it Real Rally in Hobart.

Last year, I participated in a video with my local Federal MP Andrew Wilkie MP where I demonstrated just how easy it is to lobby your Federal MP about the need for the NDIS.

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