Senate debates

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Statements by Senators

People with Disability

1:55 pm

Photo of Jordon Steele-JohnJordon Steele-John (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

No-one should ever be made to feel like their very existence is a burden or like their lives are the reason for the challenges that our country faces. The lead-up to the budget has been horrendous for the disability community. We have heard story after story again and again in the media—never from our own mouths, never in our own words—positioning us as thieves, positioning us as bludgers, positioning us as unsustainable burdens. These words have consequences.

The language used by writers and commentators and by the so-called leaders of this country sitting in this place of privilege have consequences. They reinforce the negative stereotypes that so impact on people's lives in devastating ways. Some people in this place claim to be the allies of the disability community but, when push comes to shove, they shove disabled people and our NDIS out of the way, instead prioritising $250 billion worth of tax cuts for billionaires and people who are already rich and $360 billion for nuclear submarines.

The budget should be about supporting people in the community the best way we can. Make no mistake: disabled people dislike being harmed indirectly and directly by the sentiments of these statements and will be continuing to push back against any attempt— (Time expired)