Bill Shorten Spilt The Tea (and Nobody Seemed to Notice)

“This is madness”.

I’ve never been one to dabble in politics. In fact, when dinner party conversation turns to politics, you are more likely to find me hiding in the kitchen washing dishes than knocking back a glass of red and sharing my thoughts on the country’s current state of affairs.

So naturally, it’s rather odd that I am writing a post about a politician let alone the Shadow Minister for NDIS, Bill Shorten.

In a move that may have shocked some, Bill Shorten took an opportunity during Question Time last month to highlight the ever-growing list of issues that are plaguing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and it seems his bracing speech has flown under the radar. Shorten unleashed home truth after home truth and I can honestly say that I have never been more captivated by a Question Time than I was with this.

Question Time is notorious for providing the Ministers with every opportunity under the sun to ramble on but 30 minutes was all it took for Shorten to spill the tea.

And his timing could not have been more perfect.

In case you have been living under a rock; The Royal Commission into Violence, Neglect and Exploitation of People With Disability (or Disability Royal Commission for short) was established on 4th April 2019, with the first public sitting occurring on 16th September, 2019.

The Disability Royal Commission has emphasised their focus on transparency and from my personal experience, this is something that is preached strongly to NDIS employees. Yet it is transparency that the NDIS is clearly lacking.

I’m not going to summarise Shorten’s speech as I believe everyone involved in this sector should take the time to listen to what he has to say. Instead I am going to summarise some of my favourite moments, as you cannot get more transparent than this:

  • “We are making people jump through hoops”;
  • “People are being told they are not disabled enough”;
  • “This is madness’;
  • “The lights are on but no one is home”;
  • “We are creating a culture of misery”;
  • “The NDIA is constipated”.

All toilet humour aside though, Shorten’s points are valid. You cannot deny the NDIS has a high turnover of staff (from planners to members of the executive team), that there are repeated delays, a general lack of consistency in decision making and an increasing number of Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT appeals) occurring. All of which fits nicely into a “pattern of neglect and underfunding”.

Shorten notes that the scheme itself is revolutionary and has created many success stories however he emphasises the need for the scheme to be implemented properly instead of being a bureaucracy: “there must be no short cuts in funding”.

Throw your political agendas aside and check out Shorten’s speech in it’s entirety below.

A few weeks on the power of his words have stuck in my mind, I’m with Shorten on this with: “let’s fix the system”.