Friday, December 10, 2004

Govt supports withholding information from disabled

The Howard Government has defended a new push by Centrelink to force more disabled people to the Job Network, including those who are unable to work and would lose benefits including discount travel, medical, pharmaceutical, power bills and telephone expenses.

It's just not fair for the probability of part time employment opportunities that merely change their status quo, taking away benefits that they survive on now, only to be dropped off down the track, starving for welfare when the job satisfaction diminishes, or when it is learned they could not achieve or attain the satisfaction of their employ.

The article posted on the ABC online is complete crap trying to shunt the disabled in with other groups of people who are unemployed yet trying to impose the same conditions on the disabled like their disability does not exist.

Why does the Howard government think people are stupid by disseminating propaganda aimed at those who will not suffer the consequences down the track?

To use the population to help him with forcing these people to conform regardless of their disability by shaming them into thinking they have no choice- regardless of how they feel they can cope. Or by being sneaky and withholding information relevant to them to make an informed choice?

One of our caseworkers for instance has to go home early because of epileptic fits but when they occur, not when it suits his respective employ. These are the difficulties facing the disabled. That they will be used then spat out by the Howard government just to prove or show that employment figures are down.

I work with the disabled and they can do volunteer work but for the most part are disabled, some cannot write their own name and we have to write it for them, on any despatch or just for signing simple process work. Some have to leave work because of stress they cannot deal with.

A leaked memo from Centrelink tells staff 'not to volunteer information to single parents and disability support pensioners that they do not have to go to an employment agency'.

Workforce Participation Minister Peter Dutton supports any effort to push more people off welfare and over the edge.

"The direction as I understand on my quick reading of the document now is that the Centrelink officers are saying that there is a very successful Job Network out there operating in the country," he said.

"If you are able to work and you are interested in working wouldn't that be a great outcome for you and your family?" he said.

No! If you're disabled and pushed over the edge contrary to your medical practitioners advice or your ability then expect the worst possible scenario.

Not for the likes of Dutton but because if you were able to work you'd be working. Most disabled people already do part time work and that does not seem to have rung any bells even though it has been said many, many times over.

I advise all the disabled people to write to Mr Dutton and tell him about how it is for them in relation to having information withheld that would otherwise give them a choice.

And to deduct the volunteer work from the overall cost of support that they give back to the community in terms of their initiative given by these dedicated people, regardless of their disability.

But handle that the wrong way, say by force or withholding relevant information and you move into a disaster area not just for them but also for the community, they already support, and including people like themselves.

The disabled people I know are already delivering a service to the community in their capacity that it seems Howard and his cronies has little or no regard for even though without such dedication the community would go without, leaving an even greater amount of people looking for community support networks that have been demolished.

Another Howard government initiative! But the disabled aren't laughing just crying because of Howard's blatant ignorance trying to withhold information from people who can ill afford being mistreated.

By Justice Action 10 December 04


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