After a week and a half, the OurSay People’s Question project has a stand-out question, with strong support so far for a question on the poverty of people with disabilities.
The issue of support for those with a disability returned to the media cycle this week when Tony Abbott expressed support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme recommended by the Productivity Commission last year, but said it would have to wait until the budget was strongly back in surplus.
In August last year, the government responded to the PC’s report by announcing a COAG process to begin rolling out a scheme from mid-2014. However, the scheme, which would cost $6.5 billion a year, wouldn’t be fully rolled out until 2018-19.
The question, from disabilities advocate Bob Buckley, currently has a big lead with 169 votes so far:
“To the Treasurer … Australia ranks 27th of 27 OECD country for poverty of people with a disability. Australia ranks a clear last. Does Australia’s economic stability and prosperity depend on the poverty of its citizens with a disability? If not, what will you do about the poverty of Australians with a disability?”
While the government has increased funding for disability services and Bill Shorten has made the issue his own from his period as Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Buckley’s question nails the gap between current reality and the goal of a scheme that won’t be fully operational for eight years.
A PriceWaterhouseCoopers report last year, found both that Australians with a disability are more like to be living in poverty than anywhere else in the OECD, and that Australia ranked in the bottom third of the OECD in employment those with a disability, with Australians with a disability half as likely to be employed as those without. Under a Coalition government, the scheme may be pushed back even further.
The next most popular question, from Mark Duffet, would put Martin Ferguson on the spot, asking that he clarify what sort of timef rame the government has in mind for renewable energy technologies to prove themselves in the context of its energy White Paper
“My question is to the Minister for Energy. The recent draft energy white paper contained the following statement: “The best case supporting future consideration of nuclear power would be the failure to commercialise new low‐emissions baseload energy or energy storage technologies within the timeframe that economic analysis suggests is necessary to meet long‐term global and national emissions reduction objectives (from 2025 onwards)”. My question to the minister, then, is: What is that timeframe? How long do renewable energy technologies have to prove themselves capable of supporting a low-carbon energy future for Australia, and what is the standard of that proof?”
Nominations and voting close on March 4.
*Crikey and OurSay are giving you the opportunity to get your question asked in the House of Representatives. Each week Crikey will feature a new reader question, and will look into the where/how and why of the issue and the politics behind it. A mystery member of parliament has agreed to take part in this OurSay initiative and take the People’s Question to Question Time in March. Start hitting OurSay with questions here: @OurSayAust, @OurSayPeoplesQ (
#PeoplesQ #auspol) or on Facebook. Or go to thepeoplesquestion.oursay.org for more information.