Senate debates

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Bills

National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Streamlined Governance) Bill 2019; Second Reading

12:30 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to speak to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Streamlined Governance) Bill 2019. Frankly, we could talk forever about the misnomination of what these bills that the government are advancing actually do. It concerns me that we find ourselves in that situation here again with this poorly named bill, in light of the evidence that previous senators have put on the record and what is continuing.

The hallmark of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable, and the NDIS is a concrete example of the goodwill and justice in the hearts of the Australian people. When Julia Gillard introduced the bill to fund the NDIS in 2013, Jenny Macklin rightly said:

We know this is a reform that's time has come.

A reform that will deliver significant benefits to people with disability, their carers and families and to the wider Australian community.

Labor created the NDIS, and we did it to ensure that every Australian with a disability would finally have security and dignity in their lives. I was very proud to be the member for Robertson in the green chamber at that time when those very erudite and accurate words were put on the public record.

The NDIS was a groundbreaking initiative by the previous Labor government. But, since the election of the coalition government in 2013, that government in its various iterations has done its absolute best to undermine this life-changing program. The Liberal-National government have left the NDIS in a state of permanent neglect. They have achieved this in a range of really disturbing ways. Australians going about their lives would be shocked at the way in which this government has capped, curtailed and contained what the NDIS was supposed to do. The capping of staff at less than a third of what the Productivity Commission recommended as required to do the job was a choice of the Liberal-National government.

A phone having r u ng in the chamber—

Apologies—

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