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Following on from Lauredhel’s powerful CALL TO ACTIVISM, here is a form letter that I developed (with input from Lauredhel, Wildly Parenthetical and my RL friend J), which can be used by anyone wishing to protest the ways in which this new scheme discriminates against many people with disabilities.
This letter can be modified as you wish, to suit your own circumstances and to include any additional ideas that you might have:
Dear [Name OR Sir/Madam],
I am writing to express my concern regarding the scheme proposed in the discussion paper, “Harmonisation of Disability Parking Permit Schemes in Australia*”. The proposed scheme excludes a large proportion of people with disabilities who are adversely affected by regular parking. It does not make sufficient provisions for individuals who require a walking stick, or who use shopping trolleys or prams as alternative assistive devices. It also excludes individuals with disabilities who, although they are able to walk short distances without assistance, are negatively impacted by the requirement that they use distant or inaccessible parking. Consequently, it significantly reduces the number of Australians with disabilities eligible for a Disability Parking Permit, including many of those for whom access to accessible parking is a necessity for living everyday life.
Under current schemes, persons capable of walking only short distances without pain or other incapacitation can use disability parking spaces to access workplaces, educational institutions, healthcare services, shopping centres, and public facilities such as libraries and parks independently. Under the new proposal, these individuals will lose their independence, and be forced to rely on the assistance of others, contributing to their social and political isolation. People likely to be adversely affected include (but are not limited to) those who suffer from illnesses such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, those in the early stages of degenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, those with severe mental illnesses, and those who experience high levels of pain from past injuries etc.
In addition to having a profound negative impact on the independence of many Australians living with disability, this scheme also reinforces the harmful and narrow notion that disability must be visible—via the use of various medical mobility aids—before it is considered legitimate. If implemented, this scheme will particularly adversely affect those Australians who live with ‘invisible’ disabilities, who already suffer significant discrimination within the community.
This level of discrimination against people with disabilities is unacceptable in a nation dedicated to giving all of its citizens a “fair go”. People with disabilities are important contributors to the nation, and thus it is imperative that you expand the eligibility criteria for Disability Parking Permits before this scheme is implemented, for the sake of all Australians—but especially those who live with invisible disabilities.
More details below the fold.
Emails can be sent to:
OR snail-mail to:
Australian Disability Parking Scheme submissions (East Wing)
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610
Deadline for submissions is 5pm AEST Friday 31 July 2009.
Wildly Parenthetical has posted about current State and Territory criteria for disability parking permits here, and Lauredhel has posted ableist invocations of “parking permit abuse” here.
Categories: Culture, ethics & philosophy, Life, Politics, social justice, Sociology
This letter is for you to send to the government; we have another letter coming – it’s ready, so I might post it on top of this one – to send to community organisations and agencies to encourage them to join in. So go ahead and send this one (or your version of it now); and when the Organisation one is up, you can co-sign that, suggest an org to send it to, or snaffle it and send it yourself.
edit: I’ve done it, but I’ve pushed it below this one. Please check them both out, and do your thing.
This will be going to the local State and Federal members and their opposition counterparts here as well as to FaHCSIA. The local federal member likes anything he can bash Labour over the head with, so hopefully he will get his teeth into this.
I am sending this to:
Ursula Stephens – Senator for New South Wales
Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector;
Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Inclusion
Alby Schultz MP (Federal Member for my electorate)
Katrina Hodgkinson (State Member for my seat)
and the editor of the local paper.
It could be really useful if people list email addresses and weblinks with contact details here. I’m running out of legwork steam, and have the odd bit of RL to attend to which is going to suck my energy. Thanks.
In NSW, the Mobility Parking Scheme (MPS) is the responsibility of the Minister for Transport David Campbell, who I’m sure will be making a submission to the Inquiry.
Excuse me—I’m wrong again. It’s Michael Daley, Roads Minister, not Campbell.
A handy guide for salutations for federal: http://aph.gov.au/Library/TUTORIAL/address.htm
If you live in a state where the scheme is administered by councils, it might be an idea to contact the relevant council/s as well as any state Minister for Local Government and any Local Government Association.
I’ve sent adapted form letter to:
Julia Gillard (Minister for Social Inclusion) Julia.Gillard.MP@aph.gov.au
Nicola Roxon (Minister for Health and Ageing) Nicola.Roxon.MP@aph.gov.au
Jenny Macklin (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) firstname.lastname@example.org
Justine Elliot (Minister for Ageing) Justine.Elliot.MP@aph.gov.au
Ursula Stephens (Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion) – email@example.com
Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services) firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Jan McLucas (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing) email@example.com
Tony Abbott (Shadow Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) – Tony.Abbott.MP@aph.gov.au
Peter Dutton (Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing) – Peter.Dutton.MP@aph.gov.au
Margaret May (Shadow Minister for Ageing) Margaret.May.MP@aph.gov.au
Barry Haase (Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Transport) Barry.Haase.MP@aph.gov.au
Mitch Fifield (Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector) firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Alex Hawke (my local member) – email@example.com
Mr Michael Daley (NSW Minister for Roads) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Paul Lynch (NSW Minister for Aging, Minister for Disability) email@example.com
Mr Andrew Constance (NSW Shadow Minister for Aging and Disability Services) firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Andrew Stoner (NSW Shadow Minister for Roads and Ports) email@example.com
Mr Wayne Merton (local member) firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Michael Richardson (local member) email@example.com
Mr Ray Williams (local member) firstname.lastname@example.org
The email address for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s disability rights policy unit is email@example.com This is the address to use for: * Commissioner Graeme Innes AM
Post amended to add a new logo, and Join our Facebook group – “Against the Proposed Narrowing of Accessible Parking Permit Eligibility”!
Response from Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens
“While the individual examples you mentioned would not be eligible under criteria 2 because they do not use a mobility aid, the could be eligible under criteria 3, depending on their level of physical impairment.” (permanent permit) No mention is made of temporary permits.
She then goes on to encourage me to attend an information session. I’m not filled with confidence.
The Criterion-3 defence (crit.2 in ‘temporary’) makes it really important to stress loudly that you’re talking about independent folks with disabilities, I think. I suspect it will probably need to be said several times per letter, in different ways, before getting through.
However, most of the replies I’ve had from letters to politicians in the past have replied to either just my first paragraph or just my first question, regardless of numbering, bullet points, and excessive efforts at clarity.
I’ve finally written my letter and off to express post it to FaHCSIA. Nothing like a deadline. Just noticed the many other addresses above – will see what I can do tonight but it will have to be email.