Category Archives: disability

Let them eat special burger sauce hot cross buns

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They’re orange. Like the poster for our newest campaign at the Australian Unemployed Workers UnionNobody Deserves Poverty. With little flecks of gherkin crunch. There’s so much wrong with these special burger sauce hot cross buns from Coles and I think me getting them for free from the Salvos is a let them eat cake moment. One I’ll be regretting for the rest of the evening, but I used to be a food blogger, I’m used to trying new things cos I got them free, it’s just less glamourous these days when it’s snacks form the food bank rather than with cocktails over Sydney harbour.

These fruitless hot cross buns were worse, actually, so disappointing, but then also free and beggars can’t be choosers they say. The cupcakes were cute, but Maxi decided they were his, dammit dog!

So, I’ve been able to tickle my need for food blogging through my snack hauls from the local church, the salvos and the domestic violence charity we get out OzHarvest from each week, The Salvos is great for the baked treats from Coles, the church for sweets like the hippos because they don’t mark up at all and we can get all the sugary sweets we need for the coins I raid from my money box. Like these coconut wafers, omgosh they were so good for 50c, but I’ll never see them again.

While it’s fun because I make it fun, it’s also crap. I’d prefer to be able to just pick what I want from the supermarket shelves, when I want it, not because TeeVee snacks are in abundance and not selling and Woolies wrote off a truckload to Foodbank.

So we’re still calling for the Labor government to remember all those speeches they made in opposition about how JobSeeker was abysmally low and noone can live off it let alone have and choice and control over their food purchases.

Jeremy braved QandA again and asked another question that wasn’t answered. Rustedons are whining about how rude Stan Grant was to Amanda Rishworth, whereas I don’t think anyone needs to be polite when she snubbed a scheduled meeting with welfare recipients from her electorate last month and walked out on a petition being tabled to Raise the Rate last year. Manners aren’t getting us anywhere.

Which is why we’re showing up at Albo’s office on Friday April 28th, at midday. 334a Marrickville Rd, Marrickville. You should come or support online through social media actions and sharing stories and complaints with the hashtags #RaiseTheRate and #NobodyDeservesPoverty . The more the merrier!

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Hope to meet you there! Last action outside Albanese’s office I had influenza and couldn’t head down, so I’m saving my spoons for this one!

Growing up Neurodivergent in Newy

So, Black Inc Books went and pathologised Autism and related conditions and tried to uphold the medical model and delegitimise self-diagnosis in a world where diagnosis costs thousands of dollars and the trauma of reliving your childhood to get a label you already identify with so you can access NDIS and DSP and other supports. But go off. Click through to Twitter if you want to know how well that went with the Actually Autistic Aussie community there. Apparently they’re owned by a Zionist anyway, so whatever.

I’ve had a huge week, two days at the Sydney World Pride Human rights conference and my Nanna’s funeral and just surviving in between. I’m tired, probably sick, but always up for a rant.

The conference was amazing, 1800 delegates from around the world coming together to reaffirm the fight for our human rights as LGBTQIA+ people and wondering beings. The first session started late, about 45 minutes, which had me cranky since I’d been up since 4.30am to get there. They also had lunch scheduled in for times like 1.45pm…. I know it’s only 15 minutes later, but I feel like lunch should never start later than 1.30pm, Preferably no later than 1,

There were cookies. Many cookies. I feel like I need to learn more about Intersex people and the issues that affect them, and also about how gender is described in Indigenous populations and I need to step back more as a cis white woman and stfu. We need to decolonise at every stage, We need to look at who is not in the room and see how we can bring them in. I was there on an “affordability” ticket that I had to apply to get based on being a concession card holder. It was still $120, so well out of reach for most people I know living on welfare in this country, I put it on Zippay, so it’ll be paid off at some point. There was a panel on economic inclusion which talked about offering training to people to start their own businesses, but it all came down to there needing to be capital, start up funding and grants and microloans. Queer people will continue to need to crowdfund to get their dreams.

There was a roundtable on Thursday about Autistic and Queer identities but I had to miss that for my Nanna’s funeral. It was probably for the best I didn’t travel to Sydney three days in a row, anyway. I got to nap on the trips down which was helpful. I wish the coffee stations were open before the first session! But I guess they want everyone to buy from their cafe. The funeral was fine. I got impatient with an old lady who was asking my father where some other relative was living and I’m lady talk to us at the wake, not right now right after the service. I may not get along great with my father but I’m protective of him. Rah. It’s like when my Aunt died and someone was going off on him on the phone about something and I made my mother take the phone and tell them to kindly leave him the fuck alone.

I look at my family I’ve come from and the one that’s developing. I have queer and neurdiverse niblings on my side and Bruce’s, who’ve come out into this world and what it offers and threatens. I’m here to help them how I can to protect them and celebrate them. I’m going to become a step-grandmother this year, which I’m aiming to embrace and celebrate.

I’ll leave you with two book recommendations of amazing neurodivergent women. First is Anna Spargo-Ryan’s A kind of magic and second Amy Thunig’s Tell Me Again. Two women of around my age growing up in Australia with brilliant minds but fighting their own and their family’s demons around mental health and addiction. So much from both books resonated with me. You never know what people are going through.

I’m two years sober from alcohol. And I’ve done two months straight daily Japanese practice. I like numbers.

How I spent my $20

oh, hai  there. I’m Fiona. You may now know me now as the woman on Q+A with $20 who looked pained at Jim Chalmer’s response to her question about how those on fixed incomes like the disability pension are supposed to make choices between food and medicine (seriously, I better pay that chemist bill as soon as I get this posted – my Webster paks are a lifesaver both literally and metaphorically)… Why are we the ones having to suffer now to keep inflation in check?

My questions and his non-answer:

So, it’s taken me a good couple of days to recover from the trip down to Sydney – got the shuttle bus the ABC organised from Broadmeadow station at 5pm with 20 others, we got there around 7:30, then went through screening, I got handed my question on a card and was told that I was the second question and that like I had spoken to the girl on the phone about, Stan would be asking me followups and she and her chatted about my situation and such a couple of times on the phone in the previous days.

It was a bumpy ride, but to my relief a fellow local Greens member and his mate were also on the bus, so I could chat to them and calm my nerves about the whole process. And we got a photo with our idols in the foyer.

Fiona and Wylie making peach signs with big ted, little ted, jemima and humpty at the abc ultimo studio

We went in around 8pm, I got a microphone attached to me. There was a warm up stand up comic. The questioners were all run through to make sure they got our names right etc, and I was SUPER excited to see that a teacher that I often had in primary school Mrs Turner was there!

I didn’t expect a real answer from Jim, just as I didn’t expect Labor to raise welfare since they walked back their promises and demands that they had in opposition in the lead up to the election they just won. Basically they promised us nothing and we should be grateful for that!

So, back to why you’re here? After my triumphant non-answer getting on Q+A i called home to Bruce to scream into the void and get his reaction and love. Which I got. And a request for burgers on the way home, to which I lol’d “Yeah I can spend my $20 on that!” he laughed and said, don’t worry about it  but then I wanted burgers, and given the rough trip back, chatting with the young liberals and eating lollies and pretzels at dinner, I totally needed those burgers by the time I was back in Tronno at 1am!

So, to all the Daily Mail commenters who commented on my food choices and my fatness, yeah, I had midnight Maccas with that $20 that PureProfile surveys had credited me during the trip down (another DM commenter had suggested them too, don’t worry, I’ve been doing them for 20 years). It was the best Big Mac I’d had in a long time, the chips were salty and fresh, like me, and I needed something in my belly because I needed to be up at 7am to get to my usual Friday appointments of pickup up FoodBank and Ozharvest to share with my sister (and much free bread because there was non in the budget for us) and then to my Antabuse rehab group where we discussed what we like about our sober selves. 20 months sober my friends!

Yeah, I’m fat. And yeah I could exercise more to lose weight, but I’m glad I’m not the bulimic, exercise obsessed skinny girl I once was, 2 hours at the gym a day, running 5kms to quiet her mine. My blood tests are always showing I’m in pretty good health considering, and while I’ve been on seroquel I’ve not been anywhere near skinny. I’m mentally pretty good at the moment, and working on my mental health and life goals, while being a good human being. Looking after myself and my family and friends and being sober and safe. Financially, I’m not making any headway, but I don’t have a credit card to go into debt on, and so long as I can pay my rent and smile, I’ll be okay. Also, so long as the politicians have a food allowance that is five times the daily JobSeeker payment, don’t police our food choices, mmkay?

So, it’s been a big few days. Glad to be home with my boys and love my family, friends and twitter crew to death. Sent Bruce off this morning to work in his little tinny, and I’ve been a good housewife, doing dishes and washing and earning my keep while rolling marbles on Twitch. I also played some Scotty Goes to Centrelink (The Albo Update) earlier, and will probably go another round soon!

The full episode can be seen on the ABC website or YouTube

Please, if you also feel that it’s ridiculous that in Australia people on welfare payments are deliberately kept below the poverty line, sign this petition to parliament to have the rate of all welfare payments raised to above the Henderson Poverty line which is currently $88 a day. The petition is an official parliamentary one so you’ll need to click the verification link in your email when it comes through to complete the process.

May be an image of text that says "signed the petition to #RaiseTheRate to #88aDay because... POOR PEOPLE DESERVE NICE THINGS UINCAPLOYEO AUWU NOINN NOINN Sign and share! auwu.org.au/petition"

Lake Macquarie Pride Fair and Break the Poverty Machine Rally Newcatle

SO, that was a HUGE weekend with a lot of planning and build up, lots of talking and posting and having my brain switched on, and now that I’m in recovery mode I’m going to look back at it! This is my boot after ditching the tables and gazebo at the scout hall from pride, but before the rally Monday. It’s chaos like my brain! I’ve now gotten to Wednesday and think I MAY have a virus, but it’s not certain, so I’m just drinking all the water and resting up. RATs are neg so far. I’m probably just peopled-out.

I did touch a lot of people as I was putting on soooo many temporary tattoos heh Only a couple of cleavage ones, unlike ten years ago when I was applying temporary tattoos for the Sex Party (now Reason) at Sexpo in Sydney!

A lovely evening, with perfect weather and a mix of market and community stalls, lotsa freebies and cool things, and a great vibe! Well done Newcastle Pride Inc! Thanks for bringing pride to Lake Mac!

Sunday was a rest day, and  then I picked up my Twitter friend Aeryn from the station who’d come up from Wollongong for the rally!

Here are some of the experiences of welfare shared by attendees at the Newcastle rally. You can click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

Why is seeking welfare the same effort as a full time job and it's still not enough to get by #raisetherate

And then the tear-jerker from Andrew who I’d been chatting to outside Centrelink while he was waiting for a friend. He started off with the expected – red meat, social life, coffee, giving up tobacco being a near killer as it got more and more expensive, but then, the story of how he’s been saving for a headstone for his baby boy’s grave since he dies 8 years ago at two days old just hit me hard. I apologised for having to bring it up, but he reassured me it was okay and it was good to tell someone who cared. Every time he comes close there’s the unexpected expense like a huge bill or a fridge breaking down and he just hasn’t gotten there.

The speech from Catherine was powerful, with John Mackenzie also telling it like it is. Mum says we were on NBN news that night, but they haven’t posted that story on socials.

Aeryn and I went for a scenic drive, listening and watching the rally from Adelaide on Twitch and stopping for lunch at gorgeous Nobby’s, at Bruce’s insistence I treat us to lunch somewhere.

And here we are. Check out the #BTPM tag on twitter and other socials for posts from people on Centrelink around the country pleading for a better future this Antipoverty week. There’s way too much talk about what would be nice but nothing tangible being offered, as usual.

“Happy” World Mental Health Day

Woke up so anxious today and it rapidly build up. Seeing the Happy World Mental Health day platitudes on Facebook and Instagram, contrasting that with the reality facing my loved ones didn’t help at all. I mean this tweet for one:

The discussion on Twitter over the weekend with people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) being denied access to the NDIS because they haven’t access all of the supposed treatments out there that are neither listed nor readily available in either the public OR private systems 

It’s the same as trying to access the Disability Support Pension, you need to HAVE money in order to access the treatments and diagnosis that gets you onto the pension, plus you also need to prove you aren’t getting better any time soon.

 

Oh and we also realised that the Medicare rebated sessions for those that can afford the upfront cost for and get into see psychologists are going back down to ten sessions from the 20 they were at during Covid.

Where am I going with this?

There are SO many basics that need to come into place before people can even think about being mentally well. You have to be able to feed yourself, and not just a daily meal of out of date pasta,  you need fresh fruit and vegetables. You need stable accommodation. You need to be safe from violence. You need to be able to treat your PHYSICAL health needs. You need to be able to get into a GP, to be able to either find one that still bulk bills, or to be able to front up the $80+ for that appointment before the $39 rebate. And that’s never a one-off. And the specialists, waiting list and fees if you can even get into one. And meds, even on at healthcare card that’s $6.90 a pop, if it’s on the PBS, otherwise it’s also $80+ without any rebates.

If it feels like an impossible task some days, that’s because it may be.

We need the governments to act, to work together to provide public housing, to raise the rate of all welfare payments to above the poverty line, to allow access to the right payments like DSP, parenting payment, JobSeeker, without so-called mutual obligations that amount to harassment and bullying. That make people less likely to get a job or keep one.

I’m tired and scattered today. I went to a dentist appointment at the public clinic only to be told it had been both made and cancelled on Friday when they called me. SO I’ll work up to it again on the 20th. I think it’s for getting my front fillings redone. I never had dentist anxiety til when I was 20 and they pointed out the enamel damage from a combination of overbrushing and bulimia. Fun. So those of the caps I’m probably getting fixed.

But I’m excited! About the people I’mma gonna meet!

PROTEST: Break the poverty machine | International Day to Eradicate Poverty

Join us this Monday the 17th, in Adelaide or Online or in Newcastle to protest for a better future for welfare recipients. To Break The Poverty Machine!

Lookies ! made pictures for Newcastle! Seeya outside Newcastle Centrelink 11am Monday October 17th!!!