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Apr 24, 2012
John Della Bosca

Former Deputy Prime Minister joins fight for national disability scheme

Media Release: Tuesday 24 April 2012

Former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer AO has joined forces with the Every Australian Counts campaign to secure a comprehensive National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Today, Mr Fischer has been appointed Campaign Patron. His first major role will be next Monday (April 30) at the Make It Real: NDIS 2012 rally at Olympic Park.

Tim Fischer surprised his colleagues in 1999 when he resigned as National Party leader and as a Minister, announcing he would not contest the 2001 election. His bold decision was motivated partly by the demands of his family – in particular his son Harrison who has autism.

John Della Bosca, Every Australian Counts Campaign Director, said although he and Tim worked on different sides of politics, it was important for today’s politicians and the community to continue to work together on this vital issue.

“The bipartisanship we’ve seen to date at the national level must be maintained and also replicated among the States and Territories for the NDIS to succeed.

“It is a huge boost to our cause to have an individual of Mr Fischer’s calibre on board.  He has been a champion for improved support for people with a disability and their families his entire public life and is continuing that passion.

“We are at a critical point of the campaign – the time has come for the Australian Parliament to take action to make the NDIS real.

“And I believe Mr Fischer is strongly placed to further build a case for the NDIS both to politicians and to the community. Tim knows Canberra, he knows politics and he knows how to convince ordinary Australians to support big ideas”.

Mr Fischer said: “My family has been touched by disability and I know first-hand our disability system is broken. In regional Australia it is even worse. Families have limited access to respite, can wait years for equipment and often have to move long distances to find a place for their children to live.”

“Disability can touch people in the city and the country and large and small families in various financial circumstances. It is an issue for every Australian and we have a once in a generation opportunity to fix it.

“The NDIS will enable people with a disability to aspire, achieve, put back into the community and get the support they desperately need. I believe 2012 is the year to make the NDIS real and am looking forward to being part of the campaign to finally make this great idea a reality,” Mr Fischer added.


  • The introduction of the NDIS in Australia is long overdue. As a nation we must no longer tolerate a system which places us last in terms of OECD ranking when it comes to how we support citizens with disability. Any campaign which builds public awareness and seeks to mobilise support for this is to be applauded. Equally, it is critically important that we engage diverse voices and opinion leaders in this process, and for that reason it is understandable that Tim Fischer might join the campaign. I desperately hope however that there is a strategy to quickly elevate prominent members of the disability community into positions such as Patron. Frankly, to not do this is utterly embarrassing. While it is important that this campaign is not just about people living with disability advocating for the NDIS, surely ensuring the voice of people with disability is paramount, and surely working in partnership is a priority. Therefore it stuns me that the first Patron to be announced is Tim Fischer and not an accomplished and inspiring leader such as Stella Young, Graeme Innes or John Walshe. Let’s hope we see a renewed commitment to diversifying the range of advocates and champions connected to this campaign as quickly as possible.

    • Just in case they’ are reading your conemmt, A visit by a relative is funded by the relative. Mobility payments have been claimed by a person to enable them to get around in the community. In residential care, they’ are the same people who need to get around, and need their mobility augmented, if that is their need. Providers are contracted to transport a person, but this may only be practical if they have the personalised aid they purchased with their mobility allowance, and may continue to need for it to be upgraded or adapted. A person in residential care has very little choice, but has limited funds to pay for personal items. The presumption is that residential care is an end-of-life solution to a person’s needs, and that augmented mobility is no longer needed when a person leaves the community. Young people in residential care need a life. They do not attract other benefits they are entitled to, living in the community. Family visits can be a mixed blessing, but the prime importance to a young individual is that newspaper, or tin of coke at the weekend, the TV listings, and recognition by a shopkeeper, and a new item of clothing. If the benefit itself was not such a humiliating struggle to get in the first place, benefit dependancy such a cheeseparing assortment, relying on assertions of negative life experience, there was a straightforward definition of continuing care’ entitlement from the NHS which is not abused by purchasing authorities, providers were made accountable, and had their application of client money and benefits independently audited, the environment of residential care would not be the soup of suspicion, vulnerability, and constant anxiety of relatives, there might be reason to your argument. We harbour the eternal hope that some miracle will soon restore our dependant from this mire of exploitation and political soundbite, and never intend to stop claiming every penny we can for our relative to compensate him for the next cut, promoted by the heaving gut of British pride, to be seen to throw up unmitigated relief to an economy destroyed by incompetence and greed.

  • Time has come for all politicans and the public to stand up and be counted. Seating back and watching won’t change anything. Unless we all come forward and claim this need, it won’t happen. I urge everyone to contact their local and state media (radio/newspaper/television)to get the attention this needs. Tell your local council member, state government, and federal members, that they all need to step up and push for a bipartisanship parliamentary committee that will support NDIS

    • The mobility coennompt of DLA is used for the person getting around. As a disabled person who uses a power wheelchair I know how expensive it can be to buy a car big enough for my wheelchair and the hoist alone to lift it as it is 56kg was a3450 on its own! The mobility coennompt of DLA has allowed me to actually have a life outside of my home. I can go to the shops, get to work, go to my university and see friends and family. I think it is a shame that just because a person is in residential care that their mobility element would stop. Their mobility problems and the cost to keep them mobile hasn’t changed. How many families who have family members with disabilities in residential care can afford to provide the right vehicle, the hoist or lift equipment, the insurance on these wheelchair accessible vehicles, the maintenance of the car, the tax, the MOT, the servicing etc? I certainly don’t know any. So is it the case that their love ones are going to be left to stare at 4 walls all day? That the only thing these people will do is receive visits? What happened to the handicapped becoming handicapable ?? By taking away their mobility element you are discriminating against them because of the fact they receive 24 on call care. That is all they are able to receive, because nobody from the care homes has the time or the necessary equipment for each individuals needs, weight capacity etc. It sounds more like a prison sentence for disabled residents to me rather than support to live, they will be left with the bare minimum support to merely exist.

  • Well done Tim. People who have had their lives touched by disability understand more than most why Australia needs an NDIS. Your support of the campaign will certainly assist to get the NDIS over the line.

    • wELL IF THE GOVERMENT TAKE AWAY MY DLA-MOBILITY then after being a disabled war veatren then i might as well do one of two things ,1. become a sitting muppet to wither away because goverment think I should not have any independancy because of my injuries which restrict me , or 2. should i shoot myself so i am of the books and be just another statistic crapped on disabled veatren and the disabled in general . You people in goverment and the ridiculus twerps who write comments,such as, well if they live in residential establishments they dont need it , should really find out what disability is about , . For gods sake life is hard enough as it is take this away then your disabling the disabled even more ,discriminating them as well . and condemming them to being house bound. Well thanks for all you anti disablement comments ,thanks for a goverment who couldnt give a toss really except line there own pockets and keep the fat cats in banks happy . wreck our countries Army by cutting man power ,so they can buy two bloody aircraft carriers we never needed and the money for them could of paid to help disabled or deaf ,deaf/blind .again many thanks from a veatren who is proud to be british , proud to have served my country,proud to have been a soldier even if i am know disabled . so to you armchair politicians and MP’s get a grip and get out of your little bubble and get into real world .

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