People with disabilities and mental illnesses and our families have been under-represented in public affairs since the beginning of time.
With the end of institutionalised care in the 1980s and 1990s, community inclusion and self-determination have been our goals in disability and mental health. In reality, the barriers to achieving these goals remain strongly entrenched. There is a lot of goodwill in the Australian community for people with disabilities and mental illnesses and our families, but governments, services, businesses and schools have struggled with how to to make community inclusion a reality. Inappropriate support models and dysfunctional service systems are still the norm, despite the advent of NDIS and countless mental health reform strategies. Family carers remain as isolated and marginalised as ever.
The key problem has been the lack of an independent representative voice of people with disabilities and mental illnesses and our families in reforming services and establishing pathways to inclusion. Services are still provider-centred, impersonal and fragmented, yet governments talk only to the service industries, and ignore the experience and insights of people on the ground.
Until we have an independent representative political voice of people with disabilities and mental illnesses and our families, service systems will remain provider-centred instead of genuinely person- and family-centred.
The NDIS and Mental Health Division of The Sensible Centre has one goal – to involve tens of thousands of people across our continent in electing a bloc of MPs to parliaments who will advance the inclusion and self-determination of people with disabilities and mental illnesses and our families.
To achieve this goal, we will create a political movement of people with disabilities and mental illnessses and our families, positioned in the Sensible Centre of Australian life. We will:
1. Develop a movement capable of electing its selected candidates to parliaments across Australia;
2. Develop a policy agenda to drive the movement;
3. Participate in national public discussion to promote and build support for the movement;
4. Build the leadership and organisational capacity of participants; and
5. Develop IT, business and social media tools to assist the movement achieve its goals.
To Express your Interest in participating in the Division, go to this form.
For a full outline of this place of Divisions in The Sensible Centre, see our Two Year Plan here.