Thanks to a drink driver who ran a red light in front of me and dashed me off a motorcycle some years ago, my legs don’t work too well. I will never be able to move around well enough to work the number of hours necessary to keep a roof overhead. Thus, I collect a Disability Support Pension. Despite what some particularly thoughtless people may have told you in the past, nobody gets rich on the $244.45 per week DSP payment. It takes a fair old bit of MacGyverism to make every cent of that benefit stretch to fill the gaps.
What I’m trying to figure out is why John HoWARd and Kevin Andrews figure I need to be poorer than I am. Did some disabled person run over their toes with a wheelchair? During pregnancy, were their mothers frightened by a disabled war veteran, perhaps? I just don’t get this villification of disabled people. Anyone who goes down this path is either not disabled or knows no one who is so.
I’m really clutching at straws to work out what it is that causes HoWARd and his cronies to hate the disabled so much that they would force them to do things they themselves would never do, like work for $2.27/hour. Even if I could work 15 hours per week, with the current price of petrol ($1.40/l), if I had to drive more than 20km each way to a minimum wage job every day, that arrangement would be a net loss for me. That’s how close the budgeting has to be to survive on a DSP.
I am not bedridden, though. I can manage a few blog posts per week and I can do a bit of metalcraft in my garage. It’s true that when you lose the function of part of your body, other parts tend to take up the slack. My legs won’t hold me up for long, but my upper body strength is considerable. I can still bend the odd chunk of steel and MIG/TIG weld the stuff.
This motor bicycle is my own craft. It speaks to my desire to ride a bicycle despite my disability and provides neighbourhood transport- at 100km per litre of petrol. Really cuts down the bite petrol takes out of a DSP, too.
To put some of my craftier skills to greater use, I volunteer for an outfit called Technical Aid to the Disabled, or TAD. I’m as well qualified to be a recipient of TAD services as I am to be a volunteer. Many TAD vols are retired engineers and welders. TAD’s Custom Designed Aids section creates specialised adaptive aid devices for disabled people. TAD also regularly offer a bicycle modification clinic where standard bikes can be altered to suit any particular need.
If you are disabled or know someone who is, you may be interested in TAD’s computer and printer loan service. For less than $2.00 per week, persons with a need can borrow a computer or purchase them at very low prices. If you work in I/T and are aware of computing equipment which will be retired, please keep TAD in mind. They’d very much like to have your old (Pentium III or later) gear for refurbishment. Contact the Computer Loan Service on (02) 9808 2022 if you have spare equipment you’d like to donate.
If Kevin Andrews were serious about helping disabled people work in an economically productive manner instead of idly bashing us as ‘welfare bludgers,’ he’d look into helping us earn income from home based business. The model of TAD employs the considerable strengths of retired and disabled people to provide a service. No reason why such a model could not be the basis for a profitable biz.
Think bigger, Kevin… and think about what disabled people can offer to our communities instead of what a drain we are upon them.
7 Comments so far
Leave a comment
Leave a comment