September 30, 2015

Malcolm Turnbull might have rectified his embarrassing failure to name a Minister for Ageing in his Cabinet, but he continues to let people with disability down by not naming a Minister for Disability. 


It is absolutely shameful that the Liberals are refusing Australians with a disability proper representation around the Cabinet table.


Malcolm Turnbull should use today’s admission that he neglected to appoint a Minister for Ageing to give people with disability a spokesperson at the Cabinet table too and announce a Minister for Disability.


Just last week Christian Porter, the new Minister for Social Services thought he was responsible for aged care saying,


“Coming into my responsibilities will be disability services, and of course the NDIS, and also aged care.”



 And today Christian Porter finds out he is not.


The confusion between Christian Porter and Sussan Ley over just who is responsible for what demonstrates just how important it is that people with disability have a Minister with clear responsibility for policy and services affecting their lives. 


Since 2013, the Liberals have repeatedly sought to silence the voices of people with disability.


First the Liberals cut funding for the Disability Discrimination Commissioner. 


Then they slashed support to disability advocacy services - organisations like Brain Injury Australia, Blind Citizens Australia, and Deaf Australia which support the rights and needs of Australians with disability.


Then they moved to replace the NDIS Board with their friends from big business, without proper notice being given to the current board, and without a clear recognition of the importance of maintaining representation of people with disability on the board.


And all of this at a time when the NDIS – the biggest social reform since Medicare – is at a critical time in its rollout.


The voices of people with disability have never been more important.


It is a shame to see Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to give the portfolio the prominence it deserves.