House debates

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Statements by Members

International Day of People with Disability

1:29 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to mark the International Day of People with Disability, 3 December. Today is the day which was created by the United Nations and initiated in 1992. It is a day when we recognise the dignity, the rights and the awareness of people with disability. But today it's perhaps a bittersweet day. We celebrate the existence of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the first such scheme in the world. It's an endeavour to make Australia the best in the world in the way in which we treat people with disability. It's a credit to the grassroots of disability activism and it's a credit to all sides of politics that 10 years ago there wasn't an NDIS but now there is.

But after the last eight years of the coalition, we can also, I think, mark some of the challenges that remain for people with disability. There are deaths of NDIS participants which are marked by neglect—not good enough. There is the treatment of the NDIS as an ATM for the government and the taking out of $4.6 billion—not good enough. There is the failure to properly listen to and consult with people with disability about the proposals to initiate independent assessments in the NDIS—not good enough. There is the royal commission saying that people with disability were treated as invisible—not good enough.

The theme for today's international day of disability is Building Back Better. I would suggest to people with disability that the message be 'must do better by this parliament'.