Doorstop with Bill Shorten – National Disability Insurance Scheme

Tuesday, 01 October 2019

Doorstop, Adelaide




SUBJECTS: National Disability Insurance Scheme; Scott Morrison and the United States.

AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Well I’m really, really pleased to be here with Bill Shorten, our Shadow Minister for the NDIS, and Nat Cook, who is the State Shadow Minister for Human Services. Today we are holding a forum to allow the community to express their concerns and their issues with the rollout of the NDIS. The NDIS had so much promise, it is so important to allow people with a disability to live a fulfilling life. And that is the promise of the NDIS. Unfortunately this Government has really not put the effort and the intention into the NDIS, and as a result we are seeing more and more people getting frustrated with the system, and not getting the support they need. So I’m very pleased to have both the Federal Shadow Minister and the State Shadow Minister here in Hallett Cove, in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, to listen to their concerns and take on their concerns, and I hope the Government will work with us to make this a world class system. It is incumbent on the Government to listen to the individuals who are participating, their carers, their families, so that together we can actually have a world class system of support for those living with a disability. So I will now invite Bill and then Nat to say a few words, and I thank them for coming and listening to people here in the southern suburbs.

BILL SHORTEN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE NDIS: Thanks Amanda, it’s great to be back in South Australia with Nat and Amanda. Today we’ve got a full house, we’re talking about how people can get a better deal from the National Disability Insurance Scheme. South Australia and people with a disability and their carers in South Australia should not be treated as the poor cousin of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We are hearing hundreds and hundreds of stories of people being kept waiting for legitimate equipment, legitimate entitlements, to make sure that they can live ordinary lives. South Australians living with a disability and their carers shouldn’t be treated as second-class. Today we are going to hear more stories and we are going to put the Federal Government on notice – the National Disability Insurance Scheme starts with the word national. It should be national and that means people in South Australia shouldn’t have longer waiting times, shouldn’t be waiting for necessary equipment, kids shouldn’t be waiting for necessary support. We are about fixing the NDIS, it’s a very good idea, but it’s a runaway train where carers and people with disabilities have been forgotten. I might hand over to Nat and then we’re happy to take some questions.

NAT COOK, SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES: We’ve got a system that’s been set up nationally to ensure for the future of people with a disability, and what we’re seeing is a disaster. We’re seeing people being set up for a future of disability and dependence, rather than independence. We’ve got systems set up within this Government for Members of Parliament to contact. This is a system of $1.5 billion a year to South Australians, and there is a Department sitting there to mitigate Members of Parliament contacting the media and making a fuss about people who have been let down by this system. People are contacting my office every day, and in particular in relation to transport problems. Every person that contacts my office is down between $3,000 and $5,000 per annum that’s supposed to get them around to social functions, to work, to recreation, to volunteering, and they’re being let down and stranded at home and left dependent on other people to help them. That’s not what the NDIS was set up for.

JOURNALIST: Obviously overnight information has come out about the Morrison Government helping the Trump administration in the Mueller enquiry, what concerns do you have?

SHORTEN: Well I think it’s very concerning, the revelations overnight. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has questions to answer. For example, what did the Prime Minister say to President Trump? What did President Trump as Prime Minister Morrison to do? What if anything did Prime Minister Morrison do in response to the President’s requests? It is unsatisfactory for the Australian people to discover what their government is doing in the pages of the New York Times. I noted and was pleased to see that Prime Minister Morrison got a very warm indeed special reception from President Trump. Mr Morrison needs to clean up the perception that perhaps the special reception was returned for special favours done. I think it is fundamentally important the Prime Minister clears this issue up, the Australian people value and cherish the American alliance. But no Australian wants to see our Prime Minister having the perception of being a lap dog to a particular US President or American domestic political agenda.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s in Australia’s interest to have any involvement in this investigation?

SHORTEN: I think Prime Minister Morrison needs to clean up what has happened. You cannot turn on a television anywhere in the world without seeing the latest stories emerging from President Trump and America. It’s sucking the political oxygen of the world. What we need to do is make sure our Prime Minister is not getting sucked into American domestic political games. Put it another way, I don’t expect America to interfere with Australian domestic politics and no Australian Prime Minister should allow the perception of interfering in American domestic politics. Australians run Australia, Americans run America, and that’s the cornerstone of our alliance.

JOURNALIST: Scott Morrison said Australia is willing to help in a statement he released. Do you think he has more questions to answer here?

SHORTEN: You could drive a mack truck through Prime Minister Morrison’s statement. He’s going to have to do better than “there’s nothing to see here please move along”. Mr Morrison has a bit of a trade mark when it comes to questions that he doesn’t like answering of filibustering, stonewalling, brushing them off. The American alliance is the corner of Australian military defence policy, but one of the secrets of the success of the American alliance is that we don’t get entangled in American domestic politics and they stay out of our business. I think at the very least, it would be prudential of Prime Minister Morrison not to get caught up in any of President Trump’s particular domestic political problems. I think he should just release the full transcript of the conversation, let’s know what President Trump’s asking our bloke to do, let’s know what our bloke has done in response. Because it is very important I think for a respectful relationship between Australia and America, our oldest just about ally that we have, that our Prime Minister is not seen to be a lap dog of a particular American President.


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