letter/email

Attorney-General "file and ignore" on disability issues

Previously, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) wrote to Attorneys-General about the rights of people with a disability (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/438). The letter was emailed twice (once each on 4/1/2012 and 5/1/2012) and there was no indication that it did not arrive at its destination.

There was absolutely no response to the letter, so we put in a request using the Freedom of Information process. The response says:

a message from Minister Macklin MP and Ms Collins MP

A4's Convenor received the following message from the Government on 25/9/2012 ...

Dear Friend

We believe that an independent and innovative Not-For-Profit sector is essential to building a fair community.

The past few weeks in Queensland have reminded us how Liberal governments treat community organisations.

Premier Newman has introduced gag clauses into community services contracts which prevent funded organisations from advocating for the most vulnerable in our community. The Howard Government gagged the community sector too.

Question about autism/ASD for candidates in the 2012 ACT election

The autism/ASD advocacy group, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Australian Capital Territory (SOfASD ACT) wrote to ACT political candidates asking about their policies and plans for people affected by autism. There is an election in the ACT in October and the group feels the ASD community in the ACT need to know what prospective governments plan to do to improve outcomes for people with ASD and their associates.

SOfASD asked specific questions about policy and plans for:

  • diagnosis
  • early intervention
  • school age: education and other needs

Letter to Government about labour force participation for people with autism

A4 wrote to The Hon. Mr. Shorten MP about the especially poor labour force participation (employment) of people with autism spectrum disorders. We referred to the report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that shows outcomes for people with autism are significantly worse than the outcomes people with a disability generally and Australia's indigenous population experience.

We provided the Minister with a recent example of a person with severe autism trying to access a supported employment service.

Minister: gap, not just autism, for a whole range of disabilities?

The Hon. Ms Jenny Macklin MP
Minister for Disability Reform

Dear The Hon. Ms Macklin MP

I saw your short video on the episode of A Current Affair on 19/3/2012. Your message started “We do recognise that there is a real gap for not just children with autism but children with a whole range of disabilities … ”.

feedback on draft National Human Rights Action Plan

Dear sir/madam

Despite recent correspondence from Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) to the Attorney General (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/375, http://a4.org.au/a4/node/396 and http://a4.org.au/a4/node/438), I just found out today about your draft action plan (see http://www.ag.gov.au/Humanrightsandantidiscrimination/Australiashumanrig...).

Feedback on your draft action plan is due today. My organisation does not now have time nor the capacity to develop a comprehensive response.

Is it OK for Public Servants to mislead a Minister and Senators about autism?

A4 received the letter (see below) from The Hon Mark Butler MP in response to our letter to the Prime Minister (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/441). The response shows the Minister and his Department:

  • prefer to discuss/argue the semantics of terms/phases like "lead agency" and "the remit of" ... rather than address concerns over the mental health of people with autism spectrum disorders (PwASD) and their families/carers.

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