What does $7 buy? Hopelessness, despair and death.

by Veronica on May 15, 2014

in My body is broken., Soapbox

I am disabled.

Every few months I’ll have a run of good days and start to think wistfully about going to University and studying something I’m interested in. Or the disability bashing will get inside my head and I’ll start to question myself. Surely I could work a part time job, right?

Then something will happen. My body will collapse and I’ll spend three days vomiting, only managing to parent my children through the use of heavy duty anti-emetics which will probably cause Parkinsons when I’m 50. Or maybe I’ll dislocate something so badly I’ll end up curled up in a little ball whimpering and unable to move until my husband reduces the dislocation for me, braces my joints up and puts me to bed. Or my blood pressure will bottom out and I’ll puke and pass out at the same time.

It doesn’t last long, my wistful wanting, before I’m faced with the reality of my particular disability.

I can’t drive because I can’t be trusted not to dislocate something badly while driving, or go all wobbly and dizzy. Public transport is non-existent, and it wouldn’t matter anyway, because the simple act of sitting up straight with my feet on the floor causes enough problems to write an entire blog post about.

Disability is a multi-faceted and complex thing, but Joe Hockey isn’t interested in hearing our personal stories of woe. To him, disabled Australians are an untapped workforce. Too long we have languished in our beds, on our couches, collapsed on our floors. Not only do we refuse to work through sheer laziness, sucking at the public teat like our life depends on it, but we also clog up the medical systems.

No worries. He’ll just stop indexing our pensions, make doctor co-payments a thing, charge us for blood tests and xrays and take away money from our hospitals.

Soon enough we won’t be sucking at the public teat, because we’ll be dead.

I’ve spent three days digesting this budget and I can’t see a way forward that doesn’t involve crying. How am I meant to survive if I’m assessed as being able to work eight hours? And I don’t kid myself – I have no cognitive impairments and I can walk for like, 2 minutes, so I’m perfectly capable of working, surely.

In the last three weeks, I’ve left my house once, and this was to take my youngest child to a speech therapy appointment. My husband, my carer, drove us. Then I forced myself to walk around the supermarket buying food so we didn’t starve. I spent the rest of that day in bed, and the one after too. In and out, parenting prone, between doing the work which we hope will support us when the government cuts us adrift to die.

You don’t want to know how much of our budget goes on food which is too expensive and doesn’t last nearly enough meals.

And I’m one of the lucky ones. I can freelance to make ends meet when I need to. I have a fledgling business which should be up and running by the end of the year. I have options I can carry out from my house, from my bed, when I need to.

My friends, my family, my peers, they don’t have this.

If you’re under 35 and disabled, sorry, but your disability isn’t a real thing. It doesn’t count. We’re just couchsitters, lazy, unwilling to commit to hard work.

Isn’t that right Joe? We’re disabled, so we have no right to live, let alone live without fighting a daily financial struggle.

And this is leaving aside entirely the nightmare of the changes to Newstart allowance, of forcing young people to earn or learn in an economy with no jobs and unattainable education systems.

Force the lot of us into work. Minimum wage to fill a gap, killing ourselves in the process. Cut the mental health budget – mental illness isn’t a real thing anyway. Cut the welfare. Cut the hospitals. Charge for doctors.

Joe Hockey is out there, smocking a cigar right now while our world crashes down around our ears.

The flow on effect of these changes is unimaginable. Crime. Hopelessness. Endemic poverty.

How many convicts were sent to Australia for stealing a loaf of bread, Joe? Is that what this is? Are we merely returning to our roots?

I look at this budget and I despair. Stamp all over the poor people. Let our blood fertilise your field of propaganda and lies.

We’re just grist for the mill now. Chew us up and spit us out.


Bronnie - Maid In Australia May 15, 2014 at 8:15 pm

So well said Veronica. Australia needs to hear about people like you, who do their very best, every day, just to survive.

Dorothy May 15, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I know. It’s horrible. I’ve hit despair today. I don’t know how we ended up with such a heartless government. It is just all wrong.

Alida May 15, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Well said matey. I had not idea how debilitating your condition is. I am sorry to hear this. STUPID Abbott government. Let us hope Australia stands up against this budget and those changes that will hurt those struggling the most will not pass.

victoria May 16, 2014 at 7:52 am

the more i learn about Austrailia and NZ, the more i realise how much alike we all are.
and not in a good way. :: (
people here in the US seem to think Austrailia must be way better cz of all the koalas and kangaroos romping around. or something like that.

Robyn Oyeniyi May 16, 2014 at 9:50 am

Oh Veronica I am so sad to hear of your situation.

I wrote about this from a different angle. Having read your words I have added a reference to this article on the bottom of mine. I hope people visit here and gain a perspective they may not have.


Beth May 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I’m sorry you’re going through this. I don’t know who this Joe guy is, but I do know that you have loads of things going for you and you’ll be fine. You’ll make your own way, you and your family, and whatever some politician (I assume he’s a loudmouth politician) has to say will be irrelevant.

On a lighter note, I can’t wait until your business is up and running. I hope you can make it available to at least us kiwis, too 🙂

Bec May 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Amen. I hate this budget. It basically says that if you’re not working in paid employment, then you’re useless to us. I’d like to see how the country would cope if all the volunteers and unpaid workers suddenly stopped doing what they do. There was an article on The Drum yesterday by a lawyer who was talking about how people like Abbott and Hockey just want to believe that we’re all happily standing here with our hands out for more money. Sure, because it’s so easy to make ends meet on welfare, and we all love to juggle the costs of food and electricity and schooling costs. It’s all party, all the time!!

This budget just shows how out of touch and entitled their lives really are.

Naomi May 16, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Hi Veronica,
This is a powerful and heart breaking story, and I will share it as widely as I can.
I posted it directly to Joe Hockey & Tony Abbott in twitter – a potentially futile attempt but we must stand and fight in EVERY way we know how.
We need a society that prioritises the care of it’s most disadvantaged.
It sounds like your husband is an amazing man, but he must be profoundly exhausted too.
Thank you for sharing your story because with it we can change minds, swing votes, and fight fir a better world for all people – NOT just the privileged few.

Betty May 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

Thank you so much for writing this Veronica..have our elected leaders become so out of touch that we have come to this.

Australia has always prided itself on a ‘fair go’ the ‘mateship’ ethos. It was from this our national responsibility to care for those who are disadvantaged by health, age, education, gender, race and class was born. Our collective national responsibility has shifted to one of individual responsibility, and this is inequitable and unjust. It has nothing to do with economic as much as Joe Hockey screams it has. It ideologically driven whereby people are seen as instruments of capitalism..people are there to help others who are better off make even bigger profits. We see this unfolding in ICAC…those with the money have the power. Wish people could see these greedy masters for who they are.

Know there are plenty of us with you Veronica and keep speaking out

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