Pick Up Your Bed And WORK

2 June 2011

I was going to write today about how pleased I am to read via my blog and emails that there are people in this country who feel that Australia has moral obligations and that they want to be citizens of a nation that does the right thing.

HOWEVER, I was stopped in my tracks this morning by the headline in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and felt the urge to put fingers to keyboard immediately on a different topic.


This is how the D.T, describes those people drawing disability pensions.  What on earth possessed them to pick this target wasn’t clear but they’ve probably managed to:

1.   Influence the able-bodied members of this country to see those non-working people with disabilities as a bunch of free-loaders who should get off their lazy backsides and get a job.

2.   Make disability pensioners feel like worthless, non-contributing members of society.

3.   Discourage those who are entitled to apply for a disability pension for fear that they will be viewed as work-shy spongers.

Good job, Daily Telegraph.

I am quite sure that there are people drawing a disability pension who aren’t entitled to one – no welfare scheme is perfect and some will slip through the net.  Whether this number is in single fingers, hundreds or thousands I don’t know . . . . but neither does the Daily Telegraph.  The departments responsible for allowing an application have a duty to ensure that everything is done to weed out fraudulent applicants. 

It is NOT the job of the Government, public servants OR THE DAILY TELEGRAPH to make a person with a disability feel like a lesser member of society or a shirker.



  1. This is really shocking! Having had a partner on a disability pension I know what people have to go through to get one, and it’s not easy. Barstids!

  2. I read on another blog about a woman who was asked if she thought she “deserved” a disability pension. But no mention of whether she “deserved” the disability!

  3. And if your system is the same as in the UK, every person drawing a disability benefit will have been certified eligible by at least one doctor. No mention in the article of the medical profession being censured for incompetence, negligence or complying with fraud, I see.

  4. Am I allowed to say “Amen” to that?

  5. We’re currently going through a spate here (UK) of EVERYONE on similar benefit getting knocked back at assessment. I imagine the cost in appeals is absolutely huge, and certainly the effect it has on people trying to claim is enormous – the stress of worrying about paying bills on top of the way it makes people feel.

    Have you read Kate’s bit on applying for DLA (and getting knocked back)? It’s very good. https://needled.wordpress.com/tag/disability-living-allowance/

  6. Apparently there has been a marked increase in Disability Pensions in the past year, particularly for women (up something like 7 or 8%). I think what they are failing to take into account is that they are now beginning to recognise that sufferers of mental illness (which generally affects women more) are actually getting recognition that they are unfit for work- probably more so than those with physical or intellectual disabilities. When I left the navy in a bad way, I was forced onto Newstart Allowance even though I was in no condition to apply for jobs – and I had to to keep my allowance. I have articles about people who suffer from mental illness who resort to self-harm and Munchausen’s-like behaviour just to get some time off work. Can’t get time off for depression, run your car into a tree and spend 8 weeks in traction…. Yet I know quite a few physically and intellectually disabled people who, if they had the option, would prefer to work and contribute (even in a somewhat limited capacity), whereas mentally ill people cannot cope with work at all. Of course – most of the people in government making these decisions have probably never suffered from depression or related illnesses, so it mustn’t be a real issue – people *must* be faking it!

  7. Unfortunately, the DT will print anything if they think it will sell one more paper. It is another case of epistomological populism.

    The DT’s readership is people on old age pensions and people in low paid jobs. Low skills, low education levels. And a chip on their shoulder about it. They imagine that it if there were no shirkers, (or dole bludgers, or refugees, or single mothers, or Aborigines) they would have so much more money.

    And they would not have anyone to feel superior to.

  8. I read recently an article written by a woman whose leg had been severed in an accident. Every 12 weeks in order to keep her benefit, she had to furnish a medical certificate stating that her disability still existed, ie: presumably that the leg had not grown back. This kind of treatment within the system is bad enough, let alone the insane rantings of the Daily Telegraph. I fully agree with you.

    And I was going to say something about mental illness too, and the fact that the Fed Govt prefers people to be on disability than newstart because it makes the unemployment stats look better, but you know .. not enough room for full rants here ..


  9. Thats disgustin,as a Mum to a High Functioning Autistic Im well aware that hes going to have problems in te future and hopefully the twits at school will also see how important it is to get him to read so he has a chance to support himself later.
    I was on the school council board for a couple of years and had the misfortune to hear two elder members (comminity reps) ask, why bother educate disabled students,they were still going to be a burden on society

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