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Down Syndrome NSW
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Monday, 21 September 2015

Federal Cabinet reshuffle

While every ministry is as relevant to the lives of people with disabilities and those who support them as to all Australians, some portfolios can have more impact than others ... so who holds key portfolios in the new Cabinet to be sworn in today, and what changes do we need to be aware of?

An updated list of Ministries will be posted on the Australian Government website, here, and is available now on the Liberal Party website, here.

Key Ministers will be:
Social Services - Christopher Porter (WA)
Health and Sport Minister - Sussan Ley (NSW)
Education and Training Minister - Senator Simon Birmingham (SA)
Employment Minister and Minister for Women - Senator Michaelia Cash (WA)
Treasurer - Scott Morrison (NSW)
Some commentators are disappointed that there is no Minister for Disability, or Assistant Minister for Social Services with that responsibility, given the timing of the National Disability Insurance Scheme full rollout. Senator Mitch Fifield who has had responsibility for the NDIS has been moved to Communications and the Arts. The NDIS will remain under the umbrella of the Department of Social Services.

Disability not ignored, Turnbull insists
AAP (via 21st September 2015
Malcolm Turnbull insists his government is committed to the national disability insurance scheme, even though there is no specific disability portfolio in his new ministry.

"The government's policy on the NDIS is absolutely unchanged, our commitment to it is unchanged," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Monday ...

NSW Council for Intellectual Disability said Facebook (20/09/2015):
... [Social Services Minister Christian Porter's] role will include oversight of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) and the NDIS. NSW CID looks forward to working with him and his office. 
NSW CID notes that previously there was an Assistant Minister, but this role no longer exists. 
There was also no mention of disability in the announcements. Given the importance of the NDS (National Disability Strategy) and NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and the major social reform it entails - there could have been the option of a disability portfolio. 
Nonetheless NSW CID shall continue our work in progressing the BIG issues that matter for people with intellectual disability.
Adam Creighton, a journalist at The Australian caused widespread offence with a tweet noting that there will not be Ministers for several minority groups, provoking a well-deserved, swift and incisive reply from Aine Healey, Executive Director of NSW CID, on Facebook:
Can’t believe we still are having this conversation. Use of the word “retard’ as a slur or insult is just not on! 
An Australian newspaper journalist has done just that on Twitter today. 
It is rude and hurtful. It must stop. It belittles people with intellectual disability.
It reinforces negative, demeaning and untrue stereotypes. 
People with intellectual disability are so many things – students, employees, partners, sportsman, advocates, friends and family members – they are so much more than a label. 
I am pictured below with my boss Michael. He is the Chairperson of our Board. Michael works in open employment, has a partner and enjoys spending time with his family. He is dedicated, organised, passionate and thoughtful – everything a boss and Chair should be. 
Michael also has Down syndrome. He and the people he represents at NSW CID do not deserve to be at the brunt of hurtful and cruel insults. 
I’d get him to write a post himself – but I am not going to annoy him on a Sunday evening because a journalist has been thoughtless. But, we will be taking this matter further. 
Using the “R” word is just NOT ON! End the ‪#‎Rword Please like and share this post if you agree. 
Aine HealyExecutive Director Advocacy
Added 23/09/2015:

NSW CID posted on Facebook today (23/9/2015)
Good News!! - an update on the ‪#‎Rword‬ post!
Yesterday we received an apology from both the journalist and The Australian newspaper. Plus an apology on twitter! The paper said they will take us up on our offer to work with them on some disability awareness strategies.

Thanks to everyone who liked and shared our post. Lots of people agreed with us - don't use the #Rword 
Together we have made some noise and some progress! Well done and thank you!


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