Yay – its election time! I always approach elections with unrivalled optimism… or despair, but never with indifference. They should always present hope, opportunity and the chance for renewal. Our leaders should be bastions of integrity and idealism with a vision for their community. They should be nice people, care about others, compassionate yet prepared to make decisions for the good of the whole.

On occasions there have been politicians who have seemed to be more than a pompous phrase looking for an idea but they seem to be the exception. Maybe we get what we deserve … too often focused on the short term, or ourselves. What we end up with is not ideas and vision but ads that focus on nothing but we might be bad but they are worse attacks. Worse, we get the raising of issues that are dog whistles to the intolerant and ignorant among us. I think I have seen one positive ad during this campaign from the major parties!

On election night I will be on a Family Camp. No wall-to-wall coverage of the result, no Antony Green. No delight or despair as the results for Casey, Deakin and Aston come in, no yelling at the TV. I will have to behave civilly and help facilitate a talent or trivia night; lock myself in  a room so I don’t scare people!

NDIS and the Election

The NDIS has featured in this election, alas mostly on a basic level and primarily about money and how expensive it is. The NDIS is big… really big. In fact, if the government paid the French five times the amount they paid them not to build submarines, it would just about cover the current annual NDIS budget ($26b). There is lots of talk about ‘fixing the NDIS’. I agree, it does need fixing – but what they seem to be saying is not about fixing the NDIS but more about reducing the cost of it. We have seen lots of individuals with significant cuts to their plans. For children we hear the phrase ‘parental responsibility’ banded about as the reason for the refusal of supports and in some cases cuts to plan budgets.

The NDIS was designed to support people to participate in our community and the economy. Unfortunately, it has become solely focused on the individual and the cost. For those individuals that live with their families the expectation is that those family members’ needs are ex-NDIS and should be supported through other programs. But imagine if we supported families by supporting the case management responsibilities that the NDIS brings. Imagine if we provided advocacy, supported the wellbeing of all family members, assisted parents to work. It could support siblings with education and careers, and support people to work in the field with a living wage. Then there is a chance that the NDIS may realise its promise and be seen for what it should be – a benefit and credit to our community.

Happy Election Day,