Jokes on you, Disability in Australia has a voice.

“I just want to say I think it’s great that Sydney Airport is providing so many jobs for the mentally handicapped.”

Tweets Joe Hildebrand, a journalist for News Limited. Apparently he feels that the comparability of poor customer service with that of a disability is socially acceptable. And through the re-tweets of his tweet, we can see that at least 13 of his followers must agree with him.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 4.14.07 PM

Source: Twitter

Stella Young, a disability activist and comedian, has responded to Hildebrand with a response that might make him think twice when commenting in a prominent public forum.

I am curious if Hildebrand would have made this comment if in the physical presence of Young. With this in mind, 20% of Australians are living with a disability, whether visible to the naked eye or not.

Young makes note that it is understandable that people make light hearted jokes but are so often made ‘..with little thought for those whom the speech routinely oppresses.’ Such as ‘that’s gay,’ who is calling what gay now?

Gay is defined as homosexual, not meaning stupid or bad. People who are bad at their jobs means they are incapable of performing the task at hand, not disabled or ‘mentally handicapped’.

Those in positions of power are also joining in on the disability conversation.

The CEO of Myer, Bernie Brookes, made a statement recently that the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) will ‘hurt Myer’s customer base because the estimated $300 per year the average Australia will pay is something they would have spent with us.’

Because having the latest Wayne Cooper coat this Winter is more important than a new wheelchair for someone who can’t splash out a spare $17 000?

Open your eyes Brookes, Australians deserve equal opportunities, and it is people like you that are promoting inequality.

With every little comment such as these, Australia takes giant steps back in equal opportunity, so who is taking the steps forward? Young has and continues to fight back in the quest to educate others on living with a disability, giving a voice to those who can’t.

References:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-08/young-disability-is-not-a-cute-little-joke/3817824

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-01/young-ndis-funding/4661842

http://www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2013/05/02/3750495.htm

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