Category Archives: politics

And Liptember is OVER!

Image

So, Liptember is over for another year, and I’m happy that I met my fundraising target, and that I wore lipstick every day, and I tried a few new things, but I’m also tired. Why tired? Well because people around me are. Because while it’s fun to do fundraisers, it’s hard seeing people around you not being supported with their mental health. People accessing all they can – the Medicare rebated psych sessions, medications, GP visits – but that not being enough to make any headway. My sister will feel I’m calling her out with this, and while I am, it’s also half my Twitter feed and a bunch of my Facebook family and friends. They do what they need to to tread water, they maintain, they get things done, they keep on being alive, they keep doing the appointments they have to, to work days, the welfare obligations. But they don’t really get ahead.

Image

I’m certainly not ahead either, myself, I just managed to get myself to a point where I could convince the government that they were better off giving me DSP that trying to get me into a job that I might just throw away at the first sign of trouble. I had the privilege of being able to front up the cash for private psych and OT, to be able to get into the therapy program that made a difference but wouldn’t “fix” me, to get the reports from the private OT that got me over the line for DSP. So that now I can jump in and out of the real world as I see see fit with a safety net of not losing my DSP backup because I tried and failed at something.

I’m not yet at the point of wanted to do paid external work, but I’m participating more outside myself – I’m more involved with my local Greens’ group and the events and meetings they have, I’m more active online, I’m experimenting with more social media avenues and with Twitch streaming. I’m dabbling around to try and find what I like, and hopefully being useful in the meantime. I’m doing my e-girl and activist things and I really like that. Those things excite me, being online, trying to make a difference, either together or separate, but also just figuring out me.

While also being able to be there for my partner and my sister and their kids. Helping my stepkid get into the right therapy, taking my nephew and niece to appointments, babysitting the little ones, being a sounding board for my sister, making my partner lunch and dinner and keeping  a clean and ordered house so we can relax together in the evenings. Playing with my dog, getting the kids used to a dog. Helping the children learn to be themselves and grow and explore their lives.

Image

I’m doing what I can and mostly what I want to do and while I’m tired, I like it. I like me.

You can still donate til the 15th for my Liptember, and I’ll wear the lippy of your choice one day 🙂 I still don’t have yellow and threw out a few over the month, but there’s still way too many to choose from.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

This is the obligatory yay! we fucking got rid of Morrison and are looking towards a future where we’re sliding less rapidly into a fascist hellscape.

Now to hold Anthony Albanese to his commitments and to push him to do better than that because it’s sorely needed across climate change, welfare, disability, wages, housing policy, health and more.

Today we celebrate, tomorrow we keep up the fight!

The Herd – The King is Dead 

We danced like new years eve
We danced from sheer relief
Everything must change

The people that you projected as
We were nothing of the sort it sold us all short
Put down the champagne
No toast to the legacy(no way)
And all the propaganda of prosperity
That’s what a machine does and they don’t need therapy
You turned us into a nation of haters
Far right appeaser
Believer in whatever get you leader
Dog whistle through the speakers
See who bites it

I noticed a hell of a lot of people liked it
An ethical choice is simpler if you price it
Conquer by dividing
That’s why you admired him?
Unless pushed we would never have retired him
Fuckin pirate history will damn him
Once it seemed like nothing can damage him
[UNKLE HO MANDARIN -?? ]
Crook, you got your arse played in Mandarin

Finally the King is Dead,
We cried off with his head
Everything must change, Everything must change
We danced like new years eve
We danced from relief
Everything must change, nothing stays the same
Nothing stays the same oh, Nothing stays the same oh

Yeah Cats I know are feeling just like the rapture
I can tell who this mood is failing to capture
It’s like somebody finally did light that match up
And burn down the parliament, learned from the argument
Can’t be non-partisan, when you’re an artist
And you put your heart in it,
And that’s not even the half of it
Like my man said, we’re talking butter and bread
Better if his words were never uttered again
Mostly vindictive, who could have predicted
Just a few tax breaks to keep us all addicted
The dickhead dictator leader imitator
Made me feel immature when I said I hate ya
Did you read the paper the day after and hear the laughter?
I’ll read it to you, it starts with M McKew and ends with you
No broader view from the people on your ship that you used to call crew
Huh! That’s typical, now I guess it’s difficult
For the type of person who only thinks of individual
No residual, you’ll see our resilience
Take your bat and ball and head for the pavilion

Finally the King is Dead,
We cried off with his head
Everything must change, Everything must change
We danced like new years eve
We danced from relief
Everything must change, nothing stays the same
Nothing stays the same oh, Nothing stays the same oh

We danced like new years eve
We danced from sheer relief
Everything must change

Just promise me this,
No rose petal glasses,
Quickly confine him to part of the past

Just promise me this,
No rose petal glasses,
Quickly confine him to part of the past

Finally the King is Dead,
We cried off with his head
Everything must change, Everything must change
We danced like new years eve
We danced from relief
Everything must change, nothing stays the same

Finally the King is Dead,
We cried off with his head
Everything must change, Everything must change
We danced like new years eve
We danced from relief
Everything must change, nothing stays the same
Nothing stays the same oh, Nothing stays the same oh

No rose coloured glasses….

Raise the Rate for Good – Poverty is a Political Choice #RaiseTheRateforGood

Banner for the National Day of Action

Raise the rate for good National day of Action Wed 27 April 2022

So, as I’m typing this, I’m overly full of ice creams because  I was just on the phone to Centrelink trying to sort out the last of the financial paperwork they need for my DSP application. I’d sent through my partner’s tax return SUMMARY, but they needed the full thing, and then I spent time trying to screenshot it off the ato site because that seemed to be the easiest way? Ugh, who knows? She’ll get back to me if she needs more. It’s been a process, hasn’t it? From applying in September, to the December rejection, to getting the medical approval last month and now getting all the financial information together to prove that my partner shouldn’t be supporting me.

Abolish the partner income test, mmmkay?

But first what we’re here to do is raise our voices together and call for a raise of the JobSeeker payment and all other payments to ensure recipients are not struggling below the poverty line.

my jobseeker payment

I’m currently, as I type this, still on JobSeeker, which as the partner rate is a grand total of $42.59 a day. $52.40 a day including rent assistance. So that’s less than the $46 a day bandied around, because they anticipate you need less money if you’re in a couple, and while yeah, there’s some shared expenses, I really don’t think it’s justified to halve the pharmaceutical allowance since I have a partner. We can’t share meds, you know? $3.10 a fortnight is laughable when you see my pharmacy bills each month.

chemist bill

Hilarious.

When (I say when) I get converted over the DSP, I’ve calculated I’ll be getting $53 a day. I assume I’ll be getting the same rent assistance, so it’ll be $63 including rent assistance. Score.

I use sarcasm as a defence mechanism.

The amount it should be raise to is up for discussion, but many agree that the $88 a day rate that puts the payment at the Henderson Poverty Line would be a great point. I know the Greens are promising this, however Labor has disappointed all by saying they have no plans to raise the rate of JobSeeker, and no plans yet to even review it, citing the “raise” given by the LNP when they took away the Covid supplement as seemingly enough by their standards.

poverty line chart vs jobseeker payment

 

I’ve been on JobSeeker with no obligations to look for jobs for a couple of years now. Cantrelink have acknowledged repeatedly that I’m not well enough to look for or maintain employment  but there is not financial acknowledgement of that for so many. I’m finally getting DSP, but it was a fight. I could easily have taken the rejection in December and been on rolling medical certificates once more.

The rate of welfare payments needs to be liveable across the board, as the barriers to work are real for so many, and even once people DO get work, they’re still technically below the poverty line at the point they earn too much to receive JobSeeker. How shit is that?

Also, as I’m confirmed not to be able to supplement my income with work, then the argument that the payment is low as an incentive to work is more than ridiculous. And does not wash at all for how low the Disability Support Pension is with the rate of inflation and cost of living pressures ballooning in recent years. Once I get DSP my payment will be finally more than the total rent my partner and I pay, so there’s that?

Raise the rate. Of all payments. Stop giving us excuses as to why people should suffer and struggle to meet their basic needs. Stop making us beg, because people are over begging and might need to take a bit more direct action.

a picture of carebears

Hashtag #Blessed

a picture of carebears

Scott’s right. He and Jen are blessed to not have to negotiate the life of a disabled Australian, adult or child, parent or carer. He’s blessed instead with the opportunity to make that system better for all involved.

Such as for

  • the parents of a child with some delays looking to engage with early intervention services, not knowing where to start.
  • Kids entering the education system and still facing the assumption that segregated settings are a beneficial option
  • Young adults trying to move into the workforce and having to fight for specialised support to find and keep open employment, or fumbled into sheltered workshops where $2.50 an hour is legal and seen as benevolent
  • Older adults struggling to survive on the criminally low JobSeeker payment despite having reduced capacity in the eyes of the government. But not being allowed onto the more suitable disability pension as the assessments needed to prove your disability are financially and or geographically inaccessible

But Scott has wasted his chances to make life easier for disabled people across the age span. His government has cut and cut and cut funding available to public schools who educate the majority of disabled kids, overseen the slashing of NDIS plans, defunding of advocacy services, and the continued exclusion of disabled people from leadership and board roles. Scott’s been blessed with the results of various enquiries and royal commissions that recommend centring those with lived experience of whatever it is that needs fixing, from disability care and support, to aged care, to the experience of women employed in the same building as him.

They like to say Autistic people lack empathy, but aside from that not being true and us merely needing to figure out how the neurotypical world would like us to demonstrate it, at least we’ve learned from our supports, unlike Scott from his empathy consultants.

My Election Wishlist

scene from animal crossing

Welfare payments above the poverty line – I think we were all more than a little distressed to say the least when Labor revealed they had no plans to promise any rise in JobSeeker or other Centrelink-administered payments this election. It’s even worse seeing them fall back on the small raise the libs granted us when the covid supplement was removed and try to take some sort of credit for it. I did some maths, including the rent assistance, I’ll be getting $63 a day on the Disability Support Pension when it switches over (yes, my partner finally did his paperwork for it to show he’s not my financial keeper) when my application finally gets properly approved. Living it up. I mean it’s better than the $42 a day ($52/day or $733.70 fn, including $137.40 rent assistance for the $790 rent we pay) I’m getting currently, and there won’t be mutual obligations, but this is the pension that acknowledges that I’m not really capable of regular paid employment and it kinds should be at a rate that at least lets us scrape by, and not continuously fall behind?

Some actual steps towards slowing climate change. Like not opening new coal and gas projects or subsidising the old ones. Putting money into renewable tech and jobs and batteries. Something about realising that the extreme weather events are caused by our love of destroying the planet, and perhaps we should do something about it? I mean it’s not too late, despite how depressing it gets. But we do have to act soon. And stop making things worse :/

Something to be done about the huge out of pocket costs that stop people from accessing the healthcare they need. It’s all well and good to say there’s Medicare rebates for healthcare, but what’s the point if the waitlists are excessively long or you can’t afford the upfront amount? The rebates need to be more too, because even if we do find a way to get the upfront payments for out of pocket up front costs, there’s only so long that can be sustained for.

To be more specific – You can currently access 20 rebateable psychology (or mental health OT/social work) through the “Better Access” program. That might go back to ten soon, it might not. But it’s so hard to firstly find a clinician to see you, and they you’re up for $200+ per session before the rebate that’s about half that. We’re currently trying to find someone for my niece to see, but it’s even harder to find someone for kids, especially outside the NDIS. Before I went into the current public program I’m doing DBT through, I was seeing a mental health Occupational Therapist under the scheme after finding most psychologists to have at least a 6 month wait. And this is in Newcastle, good luck if you’re in a smaller centre.

Access to free assessments in order to access NDIS and DSP and any other gatekept government program. It’s wrong that you have to be able to afford the assessments in order to get into these programs that should be available to all who need them. Also, a return to needs-based rather than diagnosis based access. Back to looking at a person’s needs and goals and working to support them with that. Disabled people have goals you know, and don’t just want to subsist.

Housing. The rental market is fucked in this country. We need a huge spend on PUBLIC housing, that’s owned by the government and leased to anyone who needs it. Guess what, that provides jobs too! Rental assistance is bullshit, and the quality of housing is slipping towards being unsafe for tenants as it’s not safe to complain or ask for repairs as there’s someone else waiting if they kick you out. I don’t know the answers. But housing is a mess.

I’m tired, and there’s still a month to go.

What’s on your Wishlist this election?