Legislative Council Survey - The Association for Children with Disability (Tas) Inc

Legislative Council Survey

Legislative Council Candidate Survey conducted by coalition of disability advocacy organisations

Question 1: School anti-bullying program

The Tasmanian Government has announced the development and roll-out of a statewide anti-bullying program for schools.  Do you support the proposed program having targeted content (and funding) to address bullying of children with disability?
Name, electoral division Response
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. Bullying is and has been a serious issue in schools for some time. Disabled persons face unique challenges which other children do not and are more susceptible to be bullied due to the visual identification of their disability.  Persons with a disability also have more difficulty in resilience against bullying. This program can not only provide support to disabled children, but it can be used in a way to educate other children bringing awareness about children with disabilities and more acceptance, involvement and peer support.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. Everyone should be included, particularly the vulnerable.
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes. Bullying can arise out of the apparent ‘differences’ between individuals (real or perceived) and I support an anti-bullying programme for schools with a message promoting acceptance of differences, and acceptance of diversity, at all levels. Teacher training is pivotal
Brian Roe, Launceston Unsure. As someone who has been involved at the coalface in the integration of sport for people with a disability into mainstream organization, it is the teaching of anti-bullying principles that are critical across the board. These programs should be inclusive of all differences.
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes. I fully support anti-bullying campaigns that support all students, particularly those with disability or other specific needs
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. Funding is most important to be able to support these people. No point having a program without funding
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. Children with disabilities are more susceptible to bullying so there should be targeted content and funding to address that.
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes




Question 2: Education for children with disability

Children with disability continue to miss out on the full range of educational opportunities enjoyed by other children.  Do you support a needs-based funding model for education of children with disability that enables them to fully participate in school life and achieve their educational potential; and meets obligations under the Disability Standards for Education?
Name, electorate Response
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. Yes I do. At Estimates previously I have constantly asked questions regarding resources for children with disability in education.
Neroli Ellis, Launceston: Yes. I do support needs-based funding to enable full participation.
Brian Roe, Launceston Yes. I support funding models that enable students with disability to achieve their educational, sporting and extra-curricular potential, provided always that the expectations are soundly and realistically based.
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. Education funding and support for our children has been poor for many years and those with disabilities have been left further behind. Without question education is vital for ALL Tasmanians, disabled persons should have access to a standard of education which enables them to lead an as productive adult life and future opportunity as anyone else.
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. Again yes I do support this too. I have a disabled niece in Western Australia who has excelled since participating in sport which has changed her whole life.
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes. I believe an individual approach to each child with disability is important to enable each child to reach their full potential
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. Education is vital for all Tasmanians.  Children with disabilities should be treated no differently in the provision of education services and if that means additional funding and programs then they should be fully investigated and funded




Question 3: NDIS

There continue to be significant concerns about achieving funding to meet the needs of people with disability through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  Do you support the fully funded roll-out of the NDIS to meet the disability-related needs of people with disability in Tasmania?
Name, electorate Response
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes
Brian Roe, Launceston Yes. Labor introduced and support the NDIS and so do I. Significant challenges have been identified in its implementation. I am already conscious of a shortage in workforce for providers. Training and ongoing professional development for more personnel is also a critical issue.
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. Tasmania has some of the poorest Health outcomes in the country and the rural, regional sector has been further disadvantaged by the removal and down scaling of services. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was designed to provide a tailored service for individual clients and rural based families with disabled members who may require different/unique services that others do not.  The NDIS should provide a tailored service for rural and regional families which meets their needs. Living in rural areas should NOT disadvantage a family dealing with these challenges.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. Absolutely. Yes I do.  This needs to be available for all people with a disability, irrespective of age.
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes. I think it is important to remember that anyone of us could face circumstances where NDIS is needed
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. Changes made last year from my limited knowledge has caused a great deal of stress for service providers which is a pity. If elected I would love to find more out about your industry to help you more.
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. The NDIS has designed to provide a tailored service for people with disabilities. Without full funding that service will be sadly lacking.
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes




Question 4: NDIS Service Standards

Existing disability service providers are required to meet quality and safety standards.  There are concerns that individual providers operating outside the formal NDIS system are not required to meet the same standards.  Do you think quality and safety standards being applied to disability service provider organisations should also apply to anyone engaged to provide support or services to people with disability under NDIS plans?
Name, electorate Response
Brian Roe, Launceston Yes. If the NDIS is funding a service, any provider should be required to meet its standards.
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. Quality and safety standards should be the same. There is no excuse to cost cut in this area.  We all have seen recent examples of disabled persons being exposed to poor and worse standards of care. This simply is not acceptable. All disable people should be treated with the highest standard of care and respect.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. Everyone has the right to service that meets safety and quality standards. It shouldn’t matter who provides the support and service, people with a disability must be catered for properly.
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes. Service provider organisations should be required to adhere to the same requirements that are imposed on government providers.  Not having to adhere to quality and safety guidelines gives these operators (even if well meaning) the opportunity to ‘cut corners’ and thereby magnify profit.  The standards should be sensible and readily applicable and apply to all operators in the space.  Very concerned with the rise of “uberisation” of disability support workers and need for transparent quality control and monitoring.
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. Every provider should have the same rules
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes. Yes – in principle. I am not fully across what services may be provided by some individual providers however I do support the need for quality and safety standards to apply to all those who provide services to people with disability.
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes.  It doesn’t matter who the provider is the standards should be the same to protect people who are often the most disadvantaged in the community and the most vulnerable.
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes



Question 5: A human rights Act for Tasmania

It is 9 years since the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) recommended our State establish a Human Rights Act. The TLRI based its recommendation on extensive consultation and research which found that current protection of human rights in Tasmania is ‘partial, disconnected and inaccessible’. This has particularly negative impacts for people with disability.  The TLRI recommended that State Parliament pass a Human Rights Act to enhance our level of rights protection.  Do you support the Tasmanian Parliament enacting a Human Rights Act as recommended by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute?
Name, electorate Response
Matthew Allen, Launceston Unsure. I have not seen or studied the Human Rights Act and would need to examine it to make an informed determination.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. I would certainly support anything that ensured that people with disability were treated equally. It is very important to me and that our vulnerable are treated with the same respect and have the same access as any other person.
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Unsure. I am not opposed to a Human Rights Act and support in principle.  I am aware that the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act has been in existence since 2006 in Victoria.  I would require more information and a better understanding of any proposal but would certainly be open to giving serious consideration to supporting such a proposal
Brian Roe, Launceston Yes. I support in principle but a genuine and extensive conversation is required to understand its implementation and effect in Tasmania
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Unsure. I would need to more fully consider this and as there has been no formal response by Government to do this as yet I haven’t undertaken a full consultation on it.
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. I would support the enacting of a Human Rights Act but I’m unsure whether I would support the final Act as without knowing the content it is difficult to make an objective decision.
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes. While I support this in-principle, I would want ‘codification’ in order to effectively apply human rights to all sections of society including people with disabilities.
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes



Question 6: Discrimination law dispute resolution process

Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act includes processes for the Commissioner to assist parties to complaints to resolve those complaints through conciliation.  This is a low-cost, accessible, early and private method of resolving complaints that avoids the financial, reputational and other costs of litigation. It also reduces the potential for imbalances of power between the parties resulting in unjust outcomes for disadvantaged parties, including many people with disability.  Do you support discrimination law maintaining its current low-cost, early dispute-resolution processes?
Name, electorate Response
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. It is important that everyone has the ability for low cost early dispute resolution process. Litigation can be very costly and may prevent some people taking action if too expensive
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes. And I think the emphasis should be on ‘early’ resolution.  Matters that drag on for many months are not good for either the person raising the issue or for the respondent.  I do understand that funding restrictions sometimes make it difficult for issues to be managed in a fashion that is seen to be sufficiently ‘timely’ but a drawn out process has the potential to lead to unreasonably entrenched positions.
Brian Roe, Launceston Yes. Unless there is an equally or even less expensive and as accessible process available, I support maintenance of the current arrangements. I have experience as both a party and a conciliator to similar processes in other jurisdictions and have found them to be an excellent mechanism to hear grievances in an environment that is conducive to delivering a better understanding of the particular issues and reaching amicable and appropriate outcomes. Not sure why anyone would propose this should change
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. Although I am not fully across the Anti-Discrimination Act, I believe as long as the disabled Parties are given access to proper, respectful representation and advocacy. It is also imperative they are fully informed throughout this process and are actively participating.
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. It should be low cost. Money spent so go to help these people not go on administration
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. Disabled members of the community have to be fully informed throughout any process and the provision of this service would seem to meet that need.

Question 7: Discrimination law protections

Section 17 of the Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits conduct that offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules another person because they have particular personal characteristics, including disability. Section 19 prohibits incitement to hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule of people with particular characteristics, including disability. In 2015–16 over half of the complaints made under section 17 were from people with disabilities. In the same period, the largest group of complaints under section 19 were from people with disabilities. The State Government is seeking to amend sections 17 and 19 of the Anti-Discrimination Act to allow offensive or hateful language if it is for ‘a religious purpose’. Upper House member, Tania Rattray, is also seeking to amend section 17 to remove the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult. There has been virtually no consultation with disability groups about either of these proposals.  Do you support people with disability and their families retaining the legal right to challenge conduct directed towards them that is insulting or offensive because of disability?
Name, electorate Response
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes.
Brian Roe, Launceston Yes. After having few legislative protections against discrimination, Tasmania adopted a suite of legislation, which whilst perhaps not perfect, provide an approach to these matters of which we can be proud. Having achieved this, but especially noting that discrimination continues, I see no reason whatsoever why we would water this provision down or provide exemptions
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. Abuse against persons based on their physical or mental disability is totally unacceptable. If the statistics relating to the numbers of complaints made regarding this are correct, there is clearly a problem that will need to be addressed further. Disabled persons require an avenue to protect them from this type of ignorance.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. Initially, I felt the words were subjective, however following many letters from disability groups and others I made the statement in Parliament that I could not support removing the words without consultation with these disability groups for their input.  Our vulnerable must be protect at all costs.
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. This should be retained
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. There should be no place in our society for offensive or hateful language. I would be interested to know if there was a common thread in the complaints.
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Do you believe that, if the above proposals are pursued, there should be a fully-fledged independent inquiry involving consultation with people with disabilities and other affected groups?
Name, electorate Response
Brian Roe, Launceston Yes. Hopefully the proposals will be withdrawn or fail to pass, but if not then any reasonable means by which this folly can be exposed should be pursued.
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. There should be consultation with disability groups to determine if there are common factors in the complaints received which can be addressed to try and find a solution. It seems illogical to try and solve a problem without fully examining the evidence and hearing from the people involved. I believe consultation with disability groups is a given.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. I made this statement in Parliament recently
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes. I think the groups that need to be consulted should include those who are most likely to be affected by any change proposal. I need to further research this form of inquiry to ensure it will be achieve the best outcome to achieve proper forms of consultation with all stakeholders and interested community members.
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. I always believe in consulting those who understand.
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes. Absolutely
Debra Thurley, Rumney Unsure
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. The evidence surrounding the complaints should be examined to the fullest extent possible
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes




Question 8: Independent advocacy

People with disability are often disadvantaged because of lack of resources and limited capacity to speak for themselves when they face problems.  Do you agree that people with disability should get the support they need to have a voice, both individually and systemically, through independent funded advocacy?
Name, electorate Response
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. Again, I believe this is a given. It is imperative that ALL disabled persons are given access to professional, independent and respectful advocacy. Advocacy groups which assist disabled persons are unique in their training, understanding and the special rapport required to properly represent their clients. Specialist skills are required in this area and they should be established and maintained to a high level of profession conduct.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. We must be the voice of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. They must have support that many others take for granted.
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes. Yes, as an advocate myself for people who are often disadvantaged, I believe advocacy (both funded and through the voice of concerned individuals including family members) is essential.
Brian Roe, Launceston Yes. Whilst not necessarily restricting the availability of such a service solely to Tasmanians with a disability (I would like to see it available to any disadvantaged person in such circumstances), I am supportive of advocacy services.
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. Gov. should fund this process
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. The availability of specialist skills in advocacy should be available to all Tasmanians. People with a disability probably require a higher level of support because of their limited capacity
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes




Question 9: Disability Justice Plan for Tasmania

In January 2017, the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner reported to the Tasmanian Government about access to justice for people with disability.  In that report, the Commissioner identified many aspects of the justice system that mean people with disability do not have equal protection of the law or equality before the law. The Commissioner provided the Government with a draft 10-year Disability Justice Plan for Tasmania. Do you support the Government implementing the Tasmanian disability justice plan to ensure equal protection and equality before the law for people with disability?
Name, electorate Response
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. All people should have equal protection and equality before the law.
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes/Unsure. I support such a move in principle but I would be interested in seeing more detail as to how the plan might work and to take time to consider fully the issues and concerns raised by the report and any comments from advocates for those with disabilities.
Brian Roe, Launceston Unsure. I am not currently familiar with the Plan nor could I access it, but am very happy to study and consider the recommendations.
Matthew Allen, Launceston Unsure. The plan would need to be studied for its content and to my understanding; it has not been examined at this stage.
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. Again I would support.
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes. Yes, in principle. I would need to see full details to make final decision
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. In principal YES. I would like to see the disability justice plan so I can make a more informed decision.




Question 10: Public transport and Uber

People with disability continue to rely heavily on taxis as a means of accessing work, sport, school, recreational and social activities. Uber has been approved by the Government to operate public transport services in Tasmania.  It is not required to comply with the same safety, accessibility and training obligations as taxi drivers. This potentially puts people with disability at risk and means that those who rely on wheelchair accessible vehicles will not have the range of choices that other public transport users in Tasmania have. Will you require all public transport providers, including Uber, to meet the same standards for accessibility and safety for people with disability?
Name, electorate Response
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Yes. I believe that there must be a certain number of vehicles accessible for the use of persons with disabilities.  I do not see that this means the whole fleet necessarily needs to be accessible, for example not all taxis are currently wheelchair friendly, but there need to be sufficient operators to meet the needs of those who require assistance. The difficulty, as I see it with Uber and such services, is that the car is often run by an owner driver using a car that is their personal vehicle (I would note that I am not exactly sure how the system really works) and such drivers may not be engaged in the service if they have to purchase a vehicle for that purpose so I am not really sure how that would work.  It would have to be the company who would determine that xx amount of their fleet would have to comply and then seek to appoint drivers for that purpose – I suppose such a requirement could be legislated.  The concern I then have is that if an individual driver (who is effectively a contractor) needs to purchase a special vehicle this effectively private vehicle may then charge a higher premium which could cause further disadvantage to the user. I believe that public transport should be in public hands.
Brian Roe, Launceston Unsure. My understanding of Uber is that it is a largely unregulated privately provided service. It is important that government continues to provide access to transport for people with a disability.
Matthew Allen, Launceston Yes. Transport operators for disabled persons should be properly accredited. If Uber drivers transport disabled persons they should have been trained and accredited to do so and should disclose / display this accreditation upon requests for transport.  It is however the decision of the passenger to select the type of transport they require. This decision can be made by the passenger upon enquiry for transport.  Also, a physically disabled wheelchair passenger will require a different type of vehicle than another disabled passenger so this further practical consideration would be taken into account by the client. In this instance, a taxi service would probably be better equipped to provide service and the driver would be accredited.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. All public transport must be able to cater for people with disability. I believe there are UBER in other states that meet the requirements for people with disability and was advised that there would be some drivers in Tasmania that would do the same.
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Yes. Yes, in principle. I understand Uber is working with potential drivers who have wheelchair accessible vehicles to ensure they can provide a service. I am not sure how this is progressing but support the accessibility requirements in principle.
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. There should be no discrimination to disabled people. We are all equal.
Steve Mav, Rumney Unsure. I would need further information.
Debra Thurley, Rumney Unsure. Not all taxis are compliant but there is availability whereby some vehicles are modified eg for wheelchairs.  Same for Uber, there should be some availability.  Unrealistic to expect all vehicles to be modified to such a degree
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. Transport operators, regardless of whether for disabled clients or not, should be properly accredited. A disabled client with special needs (eg wheelchair) will require a different type of transport than say a person with a hearing or sight disability so the choice of transport will be dependent on their individual needs.  A taxi might be the better choice for the wheelchair bound person whereas a personalised service like Uber might be better for the upwardly mobile person with a different disability. Regardless of which service they use they should have the protection of knowing that the driver/service is accredited.
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes


Question 11: Housing and disability

New housing developments are not required to meet universal design specifications that reduce the costs of housing modification for a person with disability.  This means that the higher cost of modifications to such housing can exclude people with disability from accessing the same range of housing as others in the community. Do you support the Tasmanian Government adopting universal design requirements for new housing developments?
Name, electorate Response
Brian Roe, Launceston Unsure. I would strongly support the investigation of mechanisms that will ensure that those with a disability are not disadvantaged in entering the housing market.
Matthew Allen, Launceston Unsure. After 24 years in the building industry and having completed new buildings and renovations for disabled persons, I understand the necessary requirements to ensure ease of access for people with disabilities. To be able to make an informed decision on this, I would need to see the universal design requirements and what they entailed. If elected, I would happily work with Speak Out Tasmania, or any other Association on the universal design requirements to ensure all Tasmanian’s (with or without a disability) had what they required in a home.
Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Yes. While I am not really across this area, we never know when it will be us or our family that have these requirements. It would certainly make transition easier and sounds viable to me.
Neroli Ellis, Launceston Unsure. I think that there should be an array of different options spread across public housing to cater for various disabilities – including infirmities accompanying age.  Universal design requirements should also apply to any public building or project (even if also part funded by private monies). I am less certain that the universal design requirements should apply to all private housing (although many requirements might be adopted without any difficulty.
Darryl Quilliam, Murchison Yes. Yes I do
Ruth Forrest, Murchison Unsure. If this refers to public housing stock – yes I agree and support. Regarding private building development for individual use (i.e. not developers who are providing a range of housing options within a development then I agree in principle. I would need to more fully understand the proposed requirements, but in principle I agree this would be appropriate.
Debra Thurley, Rumney Yes. As Chair of Clarence City Councils Access & Disability Committee we discuss this constantly and we are developing a check list to be used by Planners and the Building area of Council to ensure provision in new projects
Cheryl Arnol, Rumney Yes. I don’t see a problem with requiring government housing to have some universal design requirements to cater for a person with a disability.  To have design requirements for every house built may be onerous on the building industry and could well put homes out of reach of most people.
Sarah Lovell, Rumney Yes
Steve Mav, Rumney Yes



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