On Good Friday, One Nation’s Pauline Hanson YouTube channel Please Explain caused a stir. It mocked the (supposed) ‘rorts’ that have occurred in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
In the cartoon, characters refer to the NDIS as a “scam” and “rort”. It contains parodies of Coalition leader, Peter Dutton, Deputy Leader, Sussan Ley and Greens’ Jordon Steele – John, who is the first Australian senator who uses a wheelchair.
Here is the video:
In the video description, Hanson defends the cartoon:
We all know that Labor loves to spend your money like it’s going out of fashion but they have taken it to a new level with the NDIS.
While a National Disability Insurance Scheme to protect the most vulnerable sounds giood on paper the reality is the NDIS has become a scandal – plagued, scam-riddled, budget disaster.
Disability advocates condemn the video
Not surprisingly, disability advocates have condemned the video. People With Disability Australia (PWDA) and Advocacy For Inclusion (AFI) called the video “repugnant, hateful and discriminatory”.
The insensitive cruelty of this propaganda by the Hanson team stoops to new lows, with its offensive, inappropriate and inaccurate depictions of disability supports under the NDIS.PWDA President, Nicole Lee
Wheelchair paralympian, Kurt Fearnley took to Twitter, saying he was “ashamed” for Australia to have One Nation.
Head of Policy at AFI and NDIS campaigner, Craig Wallace, echoed Lee’s condemnation:
The video inspires hatred against disabled people and is a particularly nasty and vile depiction of the lives of highly vulnerable people with a disability… it should be roundly condemned by all decent Australians, including our national leaders.
Another issue that Wallace had was the reference to the NDIS as a scam. He argued that people with disabilities were more likely to be a victim of a scam, rather than a perpetrator.
PWDA and AFI have requested that the video be removed and for Pauline Hanson to publicly apologise to the audience.
History of demonising the NDIS
One Nation aren’t the only ones who’ve demonised the NDIS. I’ve been very critical of Herald Sun’s reporting on the NDIS. I argued that the article gave no context in why items like iPads were needed.
Newscorp journalists have made outrageous claims of ways people were supposedly exploiting the NDIS.
In 2017, columnist Andrew Bolt claimed that gardeners were employed by families whose children were on the autism spectrum. There was no mention of severity, whether they were non – verbal, psychological challenges the children faced. Nothing.
I believe the demonisation of the NDIS, especially so vaguely, is dangerous.
In 2020, David Harris, then fifty – five, died after his NDIS funding was cut off. His sister, Leanne Longfellow, raised the alarm when she couldn’t get in contact with him. New South Wales Police later found him deceased in his home.
Before his funding was cut, Harris had a nurse to administer injections to treat his schizophrenia and diabetes. He also had a gardener and cleaner, who he lost after his funds were cut.
In 2018, Tim Rubenach died while waiting for for a tilt bed to help his severe epilepsy. It didn’t arrive, even after Rubenach had passed away.
I could go on and cite more cases, but you get the point.
The video is potentially dangerous
It’s clear the Pauline Hanson Please Explain video was satire and hyperbolic. However, it is potentially dangerous.
Demonising the NDIS and those on it risks funding being seriously slashed. People who need assistance will miss out again. And I fear people will die waiting again.
If someone is genuinely rorting the NDIS, prosecute them. If a NDIS provider is rorting the system, prosecute them. But leave the rest of the participants and providers alone.
For people on the NDIS, the services are essential. It gives them a level of control and independence. It allows people to live a life that most people take for granted. This shouldn’t be taken away because of fear – mongering.
What do you think about the Pauline Hanson Please Explain cartoon? Feel free to leave any thoughts below.