Accessibility statement = waffle that should be kept out of the Senate, says Abbott

From The Age: “Abbott slips up while decrying waffle”:

“Tony Abbott has been forced to apologise after the government quickly seized on a comment as offensive to handicapped people[1].

The Opposition Leader, while outlining his plans for the reform of parliamentary procedure, said that he wanted question time to flow into the political debate of the day without ”waffly ministerial statements” on things such as ”the accessibility of cinemas” coming in between. […]

The parliamentary secretary for disability, Bill Shorten, said Mr Abbott’s comment was ”an insult to the millions of Australians living with impairment … who have campaigned for decades to improve access to cinemas”.

Mr Shorten said Mr Abbott’s ”dismissive throwaway line – equating discussions of disability access to a waste of time – is the latest demonstration of his risky, speak-before-you-think approach”.

Mr Abbott said last night: ”I was misinformed about that particular statement. It was a poor example to use and I am sorry if I have caused any offence.””

Perhaps you should have listened to that statement, Mr Abbott, before dismissing it as unimportant and irrelevant. That would be called, oh, “doing your research”.

Why exactly, when your mind reaches for an example of pointless disposable wibbling, is “accessibility and social inclusion for people with disabilities” the first thing that leaps to mind, eh?

Followup in the Herald Sun:

“Disability advocates’ fury at Tony Abbott”:

“Blind Citizens Australia executive officer Robyn Gaile said Mr Abbott had missed the point and disrespected ‘the inherent dignity of people who are blind or vision-impaired, or deaf or hearing-impaired’.

Deafness Forum of Australia chief executive Nicole Lawder was ‘extremely disappointed’. ‘Cinema access is … certainly not irrelevant or waffle,’ Ms Lawder said.

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations spokesman David Brant said the comments betrayed a lack of understanding of difficulties faced by disabled people.”

Full context of Abbott’s remark.

[1] “Handicapped people”, Michelle Grattan, for serious? What century are we in? Does Fairfax have no style guide?

Categories: Politics

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10 replies

  1. Grrrr! the man is an absolute prat, i cannot believe that someone as intolerant as him can be considered as a potential Prime Minister, except I can belive given the Prime Ministers of recent years.
    I’d love to see Abbot turn up at an event like SwanCon in Perth and try and sell his brand to that crowd.

  2. Waffle? People with a disability wanting needing quality of life? What passes as topics for real debate then? Climate change denial? Nice line in a non apology as well.

  3. Please find below a comprehensive and detailed list of all persons and social groups within Australian society that Mr. A Abbott, Leader of the Federal Opposition has not smeared, insulted, denigrated or actively pursued policies that would negatively impact upon same.
    1.The rich.

  4. @hannah’s dad
    1.The rich white men.
    Fixed that for you. 😛
    Seriously, ever word out of Abbott’s mouth makes me more and more scared about what will happen if he wins (which keeps looking like more and more of a possibility).

  5. Shorten was probably secretly offended that he was accused of waffling. (His last name is somewhat misleading when it comes to his speeches.)

  6. Beppie:
    I fixed up your fix up.
    “1.The rich white hetero men.”
    Your turn to fix.
    We could keep going for a while.

  7. “1.The rich white hetero cis men.”
    Fixed up your fix of the fix.
    As for the article… Ow, thanks for that slap in the face Abbott. Oh those disabled people, wanting special privileges like being able to go to the movies without hassle. Yeah, that’s just waffle, ey? /sarcasm
    Am so pissed at him. The idea of Abbott in power terrifies me, and this just proves how horrible he is.

  8. Sorry for the double comment: I just wanted to know if there was anything in question time that prompted this little piece of verbal diarrhoea. Did someone dare to talk about disabled people when there were more Important things to discuss, like the plight of rich white men?

  9. to flow into the political debate of the day without
    Good to know that disability issues are not part of political debate then.


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