Decision Maker

Stuart Robert

  • Minister for the NDIS and Government Services

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Petitioning Scott Morrison, Stuart Robert, Mathias Cormann, Anne Ruston

Persons with disability and their carers need COVID-19 support payment.

This is me with my wonderful son, Luke, who lives with a disability. I spend most of my time caring for him, but also work on a part-time basis to supplement our income, just like so many other parents. My job prospects have also taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, unlike parents on Parenting Payment, the government isn’t offering parents on Carer Payment (CP) or Disability Support Pension (DSP) any fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement. (The government are only offering the lesser-paying Economic Support Payment to people on DSP or CP.) This leaves parents with a disability in their family on a lower overall payment than parents on Parenting Payment. Having a disability or a child with a disability shouldn’t make a difference. This is why I’m calling on the government to top up DSP and CP for the next six months, like those on Parenting Payment will have access to. In my circumstance, I completed my last temp job two weeks before people started losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. I, too, am finding it increasingly difficult to find another job and expect to be out of work for the duration of the economic downturn. There are many others like me. It is commendable that the federal government has announced an additional one-off Economic Support Payment and fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement payments for those on Jobseeker payments, Parenting Payment, and others for the next six months. However, it is deeply upsetting that the government doesn’t equally recognise DSP and CP recipients, and has denied us the fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement. People with disability and carers are also suffering  massive financial setbacks in the coronavirus economic downturn, due to changes in expenses and income.  This is about including all people with disabilities in the community. I am urging the government to acknowledge people with disability and those who care for someone with a disability, including parents in these groups, as well as everyone else on Centrelink income support payments. A fair and equitable way to address the unprecedented crisis would be to top up everyone's fortnightly Centrelink payments to match what is being offered to people without disability or who care for children who don’t have a disability. 

Kerry Janten
32,020 supporters
Petitioning Melbourne City Mission, NDIS, Stuart Robert

Help Vinny and her Friends Save Bridges!

Without the Bridges program Vinny and her 90 plus friends will have no where to go. No place of learning and no place to connect with others. This is their community, their safe place, their support system. Not only will the students at Bridges be affected by this but also their families. By having day programs it means the parents are still able to work and support their families. Without Bridges this will become impossible for many. We need to make as much noise about this as possible. It is not only the people and families that rely on Bridges that are suffering, but so many more that are suffering as a result of our flawed system. As taxpayers, we pay taxes to ensure we have adequate systems in place that support us all, in the areas that are fundamental - such as health, education, mental health, aged care and support for those with disabilities. How can we live in a country like Australia and not have these basic systems in place to support the people who need it most. These are the people that need your support and voice now. We need the power of the people to make a change. We shouldn’t be in a position at all where we need to plead to save basic support services, like Bridges, but here we are. So, please make your voice heard! Use your voice to say that withdrawing these vital services is not acceptable to you, or to Australia at large. Sign the petition! Please support Vinny and her friends to Save Bridges! Together we are strong. Together we can do this. Thank you.  

Vinny Hope
20,927 supporters
Petitioning The Hon. Stuart Robert, Assistant Treasurer

Include Veterans in the 2021 Census.

I am seeking your support for the inclusion of a question on the 2021 Census to identify people who have served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). It is a very significant issue and given that no information is collected, there is very limited data on our veteran community.  National data on where veterans live once discharged from service along with employment status, family composition, etc. is crucial to enabling government and ex-service organisations (ESO’s) to deliver relevant and timely veteran support services needed during transition and into civilian life. Considering the ADF’s current high operational tempo and with over 5,500 personnel leaving the ADF each year not having this data makes it extremely hard to effectively deliver the support service needed. Once a veteran has sought assistance, in particular from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), there is visibility but up until this point we have limited idea where we might need to reach out. This is far from ideal as most veterans wait until in extreme crisis before reaching out for help. Last year alone we had 85 recorded veteran suicides and one has to ask had we known more could we have drastically reduced this number. Recently RSL NSW State President, James Brown met with the Minister for Veterans Affairs Darren Chester, and Shadow Minister Amanda Rishworth also urging them to support the inclusion of a question on the 2021 Census asking about service in the ADF. I’m happy to say both MPs have committed to seek the support of their colleagues in resolving this matter, and ensuring veterans are counted on the next Census. Please sign this petition and contact your Federal Member to highlight this issue and seek their support.

Bronte Pollard
15,043 supporters
Petitioning Paul Fletcher Minister for Communication, Stuart Robert, Scott Morrison

Save Captel Captioned Phones for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Australians

On the 1st February 2020 due to changes to the National Relay Service contract to an International Call Centre, the Australian  Department of Communication made a firm decision not to continue captioning of Captel Captioned Phones vital to Deaf and Hearing Impaired Australians.  To use any of the Department alternatives is slow unnatural and takes away the equality of a simple phone call for both the hearing impaired and the person on the other end. With my Captel Captioned Phone I no longer have to get others to make my calls. Now I am a person first and no longer someone who can't hear on the phone. I can independently conduct my own affairs with dignity in a discreet normal conversation. No one could possibly put a price on this accessible product. I used to rely on asking others around me to make and receive the calls for me. This new technology means that I can make calls directly. The barriers of making calls for myself are removed instantly with this technology. This will also lead to increased productivity through education and eventual health benefits. The Captel phone allows for increase size of the written words, the colour of the text is perfect for my vision and customized ring tones and captioned answering machine message controls enhance my phone communications. The brightness of the screen, adjustable volume for non-text services, and the capability for use with the telecoil with hearing aids is an added accessible feature. Auto connection to the Relay Officer captioning allows discreet normal conversation without having to disclose to callers that I am at home alone and deaf, thereby adding to my sense of security. Summary  The Captel phone exceeds all other telephony due to these amazing accessible features : dependence and confidence in communication is increased: able to look after personal and business affairs: Hearing impaired are seen as a person first and having a hearing disability second;: decreases isolation for young and old people; for people living in remote areas: enables increased productivity and  equal opportunity in the workplace;:improved relationships due to more contact; and: able to conduct business without relying on someone else. Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesstates: 1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, ..... 1 in 6 Australian people ( 3.5 million Australians) have some form of hearing loss. Hard of hearing phone users depend upon the CapTel Phone which uses the NRS service. Should it be cancelled,the hard of hearing will be put at a severe disadvantage, will lose independence, and the ability to communicate with the outside world. The average age of Captel users is 80years old and therefore the suggested alternatives by the Department of Communication are unsuitable for our sector who rely on the ease of use and familiarity of Captel and love the familiar features enabling us to easily and quickly contact emergency services, social arrangements and to make doctors appointments, amongst many other things. At the moment with our Captel Captioned Phones we have the amazing features of Automatic connection to the Relay Officer, no contact with the Relay Officer, complete independence and privacy, in fact, no one need know we are even using captioning. The fast continual scrolling, direct dialing and receiving of calls aids inclusion and equality as it is just like a normal phone but with open captioning allowing it to be suitable for the front office as other staff need to pick up the same phone. We see this decision as direct discrimination against our Hard of Hearing sector especially those born before the modern technology era. It is cruel, discriminatory and unjust to force users to transition backwards to the slower and more difficult methods to make a simple phone call all due to perceived " value for money " and to keep the budget for the NRS at a capped $22million. Captel is the best telephony technology in the world for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Australians. Why should the communicative futures of all Hard of Hearing Australians be caught in the middle of government perceived " value for money " capping limitations of accessible telephone communications, when able hearing Australians can just pick up a state of the art phone and have a direct normal conversation in privacy whilst retaining full control of their communications? If this doesn't constitute a breach of Human Rights and Disability Discrimination I don't know what more evidence is needed? Please, in order to support our Save CAPTEL  campaign to keep Captel captioned in Australia, and assist the US company (that are providing the current captioning), we ask all supporters to continue to contact MPs and demand that our rights to advanced inclusive telephony be continued at the same rates we have experienced for the past 9 years. We the people of Australia request  that there be NO capping of funding for the National Relay Service and remind the government of the pledge made by the former Minister for Communication, that "no user will be worse off by the changes to the National Relay Service". It is far time that the Department treats the Australian Hearing Impaired community with dignity and equality of communication. Yours Sincerely Ms Christine O'Reilly on behalf of the thousands of hearing impaired who rely on the Captel Captioned Phone and those who never even got the chance to acquire this amazing accessible telephone to Australia         

Christine O'REILLY
6,845 supporters
Petitioning Minister for Education, Greg Hunt, Anne Ruston, Scott Morrison, Daniel Tehan, Stuart Robert

Stop educational discrimination against children with ADHD

Thousands of children with ADHD experience discrimination and alienation in schools across Australia each day. Behind this discrimination is a lack of awareness and wilful economic ignorance about the nature of ADHD. This ignorance exists within all levels of the education system.  We call on the Education Minister to ensure: Schools in Australia are up to date with the current research and developments relating to ADHD. Principals and teachers are trained to recognise ADHD is a neurobiological condition. Students with ADHD are provided access to funding and support. Schools formulate and implement positive strategies for students with ADHD, both in the classroom and playground. Principals and teachers who discriminate against children with ADHD are legally held accountable for their actions. Stop discriminating against our children and instead provide support. Children with ADHD require adjustments to their learning environment. Many also require health and allied services including Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Behavioural and Psychological services. These services are not freely available across Australia and are financially out of reach for many parents and carers. Provide access for those affected by ADHD to these services and allow them the opportunity to participate equitably in the community.

Saf Chaleur
3,247 supporters
Petitioning Josh Frydenberg

Increase Newstart to above the poverty line

On 26 September 2018, Scott Morrison made the grossly inhumane decision not to increase the Newstart allowance saying the budget is still in deficit. Yet the LNP have millions to donate to their preferred funds or to overseas countries, while leaving Australians to suffer. In a recent Parliamentary speech with the Hon Paul Fletcher dated 6 September 2018, The Hon Sarah Henderson declared: “People with a disability will now have a greater opportunity to be part of the debate, conversation and policy-making for a more inclusive Australia.” However, those persons whose medical conditions are not yet ‘fully diagnosed, treated and stable’ are excluded from the Disability Support Pension, and left to languish on Newstart.  The right to an adequate standard of living is contained in article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), on the Attorney-General’s webpage. According to DFAT, this treaty was ratified on 10 December 1975, and made entry into force in Australia on 10 March 1976. Moreover, even under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), which is designed for low to middle-income earners; one cannot afford one of these rental houses on Newstart.  The NRAS Federal funding is reportedly due to end this year, placing thousands of vulnerable people at risk of homelessness.  Source:  https://www.9news.com.au/2018/09/28/18/50/national-rental-affordability-scheme-end-homelessness-fears-pensioners?ocid=Social-9News  Newstart has not been increased incrementally to adjust to the rising cost of living in a quarter of a century.   This is inhumane, and in gross violation of the ICESCR Treaty.  Newstart is only around 35% of the average weekly wage, and keeps those on it in a perpetual state of poverty. How can one thrive when they are struggling to merely survive?!  Citizens are unable to contribute to society if they are kept in poverty.  According to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992; Section 24 Goods, services and facilities:  “Section 24 covers the provision of goods, services and facilities and states that it is unlawful to refuse to provide goods, services or facilities to a person because of their disability or to impose discriminatory terms or conditions on the delivery of those goods, services or facilities.  Where housing is being provided as a publicly funded or not-for-profit service, a failure to provide equitable access for people with disabilities to those services or facilities could also be subject to a complaint of discrimination.”  Source:  https://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/speeches/housing-human-rights-and-sustainability

Trudy Fox
940 supporters