By convenor | Sun, 8/4/2018 - 12:40


Re: Letter from Minister Stephen-Smith
Sun, 8 Apr 2018 12:03:58 +1000
Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor <>
Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)

Minister R. Stephen-Smith MLA
ACT Legislative Assembly

Dear Ms Stephen-Smith MLA

Thank you for your response to our email. I also appreciate the time you spend talking to me at your "mobile office" on the 2-MAR-2018.

I am intrigued by the paragraph in your response that says:

I note that you also raised concerns with Ms De Luca regarding the NDIA Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach as it relates to autism. The ACT Government is aware that there are a number of community concerns relating to the ECEI approach as outlined in your correspondence. The Office for Disability is actively working with the NDIA both at a national and regional level to address these concerns and hopes to influence a positive outcome.

I expect that the precise "number" that you refer to in "a number of community concerns" is zero.

I surmise this because you say "the Office for Disability is actively working with the NDIA" so the number of "community concerns" would be the same in both organisations. A major point of A4's letters to Mr De Luca (NDIA CEO), Ms Nugent (Chair of the NDIA Board) and to you and others as delegates to the relevant COAG group was that "NDIA does not recognise the numerous concerns of ASD-related stakeholders relating to the NDIS and early intervention for autistic Australians"; the number of concerns that the NDIA recognised in its summary of its meeting with A4 and the preceding letters was zero. Responses from Ms Nugent and Ms Gunn (on behalf of Mr De Luca) also did not recognise any "community concerns" which also confirms that the NDIA as yet recognises no (zero) concerns of the ASD community.

Both Mr De Luca and Ms Nugent declined to meet with A4. Mr De Luca also declined to meet with the Australian Autism Alliance that A4 is a member of (as Ms Gunn noted in  her response). Instead, they seek to organise or repeat meetings with NDIA minions.

You may be interested to know that the NDIA is clearly not aware that it is engaged in any activity with the ACT Office for Disability to "address these concerns".

Further, zero is precisely  the number of concerns that the ACT Office of Disability has discussed with the ASD advocacy group, SOfASD, in the ACT in recent times in relation to influencing or achieving "positive outcomes". We are unsure who the "positive outcomes" you mentioned would be aimed at. They do not seem to be aimed at autistic people.

Note that the phrase "actively working" in relation to zero issues makes the television series "Yes Minister" and "Utopia" more accurately classified as documentary rather than satire.

If you feel however that the precise "number of community concerns" is more than zero, please would you indicate:

  • which particular "community concerns" you mean;
  • what "actively working" entails for each "community concern"; and
  • how "the [ACT] Office for Disability is actively working with the NDIA" when the NDIA seems unaware that it is doing so.

Please feel free to contact A4 or SOfASD should you want to discuss any of the community concerns about the NDIA or outcomes for autistic people in the ACT. I can be reached on 0418 xxx xxx.

yours sincerely
Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
Chair, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD)

A4 is the national grassroots organisation advocating for autistic people, their families, carers and associates. A4 is internet based so that Australians anywhere can participate.

“The first step in solving any problem is recognising there is one.” Jeff Daniels as Will McEvoy in The Newsroom.


On 05/04/18 12:20, STEPHEN-SMITH wrote:

Dear Mr Buckley


Please find attached a letter from Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.



Jonathan Goodwin

Office Manager | Office of Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith

ACT Government

Tel: +61 2 6205 2661

ACT Legislative Assembly, 196 London Circuit, CANBERRA, ACT, 2600


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