Category Archives: Social Inclusion

Hidden DisAbility and Invisible Illness

Many people live every day with illness that cannot be seen by others. Often times, those people feel judged and misunderstood, or ashamed of behaviours or impairments that are linked to their condition. Many chronic diseases have no outward signs that alert others to the challenges that individuals are facing. People living with these hidden conditions often don’t disclose the extent of their hardship for fear of being treated differently, stigmatised or disbelieved.

This article is intended to raise awareness of invisible illness and hidden disability. Hopefully readers will pause before they pass judgement about that person using the disabled toilet or car space who “looks perfectly fine”, or that friend who consistently declines social invitations, or that work colleague who takes a lot of time off and is often referred to behind their back as lazy or “bludging“.

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Women – Not a High Priority, Despite the Rhetoric

The Senate Inquiry into Domestic Violence in Australia released its interim report this week.  Many of the recommendations support the pleas of crisis accommodation services, women’s groups and welfare organisations for reinstatement of funding cut in last year’s budget. Although the final report is not due to be released until July, the current volatile political situation (with the possibility of a double dissolution looming) and the extreme severity of the situation, costing nearly $14 billion in 2008-9 (report p.2), was felt to justify the release of the interim report now.

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Let’s Listen to the Real Experts and Set Justice Targets

Justice targets are measurable goals which aim to reduce incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians. Their addition to the existing Closing the Gap targets, set collaboratively by all State and Territory governments, was announced in August 2013 by then Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin. This was a recommendation of then Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma in 2009’s Social Justice Report. How can this be a bad idea?

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Bryan Brown and other prominent Aussies ‘get off their bums and do something’ for kids in detention

Perhaps this will get the message across to the people making barbaric policy that sees over 1000 kids seeking asylum behind bars in Australia’s detention centres, here on the mainland and also on Christmas Island and Nauru. A popular movement with respected figures from the sporting, film and television community has been launched with the slogan: We’re better than this.

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Productivity Commission’s Report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

The video below highlights the key findings from the 6th Productivity Commission Report into the wellbeing of Aborignal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage.

There is cause for hope that the improvements in child mortality, life expectancy, education and employment outcomes will continue to trend positively. However, it is still a major concern that statistics on chronic health problems, mental illness, community and family violence, illiteracy and rates of incarceration and interaction with the justice system remain unacceptably high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Widening Economic Divide Overlooked

Yet again ACOSS have delivered a worrying report quantifying the growing income disparity across Australia.  Although its warnings are dire, little media attention has been given to its release or to National Anti-Poverty Week (Oct 12 -18 2014).  I have to admit, I was all but oblivious.  Thank you New Matilda for keeping us all informed of the important issues.

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National Families Week (May 15–21): ‘Stronger Families, Stronger Communities’

Here is some food for thought for those of us in this little pocket of the world – Tweed Shire, Northern NSW – as we consider the theme of National Families Week and reflect on global trends in family-related policy this year, the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

On April 30th, Anglicare Australia launched its annual Rental Affordability Snapshot, highlighting the difficulties that low-income households face in securing affordable housing.  Low-income families in regional areas were found to be virtually unable to find suitable housing on their budget, especially if they were single parents receiving Newstart Allowance.  Anglicare Australia’s first key priority was “recognition of income inadequacy as a barrier to secure housing and meaningful social participation” (page. 5).

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