When we set out to find a solution to this fundamental level of discrimination back in early 2007 we had no idea it would take this long and encounter so many people. In essence we have either met with or received letters from Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary and Minister for disability services,Verity Firth, Minister for Education, Paul Lynch, Minister for Disability Services, Premier Kristina Keneally, and also Kristina Keneally as Premier of NSW, without any result.
It is disgraceful they can all palm off this situation on to some other department without any of them taking responsibility. I don’t know how they can sleep at night knowing that their deparments spend all of their time and tax payers money just palming off problems onto other areas in the hope that eventually someone like us will just give up.
History of Contact with Politicians…
(There were a lot more letters than what is contained here however these are the crux of the arguments)
We first started out on the 21st June, 2007 with a letter to our local member of parliament, Rob Stokes Daniel Clarke – High School Funding Teachers Aid 20070621 V01
We received a reply from Rob Stokes which summarised a response from the then Parliamentary Secretary Virginia Judge –> 20071012 Response from Rob Stokes and Virginia Judge
We then received a letter from Rob Stokes advising he was seek a reply from the then Federal Minister for Education, Hon Julie Bishop. The reply on the 16th October 2007 was –> 20071114 Response from Rob Stokes and Julie Bishop
We then reaffirmed our position with the then Minister for Disability Services, Kristina Keneally –>20080806 Letter to Kristina Keneally reaffirming our position and we never received a response. According to our meeting with her in May 2010 she said she never received this letter…
We then wrote a letter to the Minister for Disability Services, Julia Gillard –> 20090315 Letter to Julia Gillard
We received a response from the Branch Manager, Gabrielle Phillips –> 20090503 Response from Julia Gillards Office
We then sent a letter to Bill Shorten, the Hon Member for Disability and Children Services–> 20090505 Letter to Bill Shorten Minister for Disability SErvices
We received a very conceited response from his office (I was surprised he didn’t offer to give me a autograph the way the letter was written!) –> 20090505 Letter to Bill Shorten Minister for Disability SErvices
In March 2010 Penny, Daniel and Stephen Harris, Principal from Northern Beaches Christian School, was invited to the office of Verity Firth, Minister for education, in order to express their concerns over the lack of funding and discrimination that was being demonstrated. In essence the discussions that followed in the weeks after resulted in the Minister for Education confirming that NBCS was receiving all they were entitled to and will receive nothing more.
Out of desperation, on the 11th May Penny finally got fed up with the lack of progress that was being made through our political leadership and approached the leader of the opposition, Barry O’Farrell with the issue. Barry and his team immediately held a press conference (14th May) which resulted in a number of newspaper and television responses (please see the other Post on Media which resulted from this).
On the 17th May 2010, Penny, Daniel, William and I met with the NSW Premier Kristina Keneally in her office in Sydney and the minutes of the meeting are here –> 20100517 Minutes of Meeting with Premier Kristina Keneally
We explained how disgusted we were that the Labour government could use Daniel as the ‘front man’ of their ‘Stronger Together’ campaign and then blatantly discriminate against us when the time came to be ‘stronger together’.
On the 8th July, 2010, Penny, Daniel & William met with the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop MP who advised she would meet with both Rob Stokes and Tony Abbott about our situation. It was great to hear during the election campaign that Tony Abbott announced the liberal party would pilot a scheme where children with a disability requiring assistance at school could apply for a $20k per year grant for teachers aide funding. This was being done on a trial basis for 6,000 individuals – This is exactly what we have been campaigning about and we are hoping the Liberals get in.
It is the State Government’s responsibility to fund the education sector and therefore we are still waiting on the promises of our Premier to make sure this is resolved before the end of this year as she has committed to us.
As a backup, we are hoping that the Liberals win the federal election so we may apply for the grant as mentioned in their election promises.
…so far all we have is promises !