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