Sunday, May 4, 2014

Murdoch Versus the NDIS

It has been an interesting time to be researching an article on the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia, with lots of discussion about it in the Australia media and on social media.

My aim is to write an article based on interviews with one or two of the participants in the scheme. So I joined a Facebook discussion group on the NDIS and hoped to find someone who was part of the Barwon regional trial in Victoria to interview. I decided to lurk for a while to see what they were talking about and hopefully identify a few people to approach who were part of the Barwon trial.

Beaten to the Request

Unfortunately, while still lurking, a journalist from The Australian posted an interview request. I worried what sort of interview he would conduct. For those who don’t know, on the night of the last federal election Rupert Murdoch, the owner of The Australian, tweeted something along the lines of “now we can get rid of all these welfare bludgers.” So I worried that his journalist might have an agenda to show the NDIS, which the ill-informed mistakenly think of as welfare scheme, in a bad light. I have had a look in The Australian and there articles seem to be overwhelmingly negative towards the NDIS.

Meanwhile, I decided to wait a day before posting my interview request on the discussion group.  The next day, I logged on to the discussion group and find that the administrator of the group has had a request from the ABC to interview NDIS participants about their fears of the upcoming budget. Bloody hell. I decided not to delay my request for interviewees any longer and posted a request to the group. I stressed in my post that I did not have an agenda, hoping they would take the hint about the journalist from The Australian.

Negative NDIS Article in The Australian

The following day I logged onto the Facebook and the NDIS discussion group is abuzz about an article that has appeared in The Australian: Mother sees merit in NDIS slower rollout. The article was written by a different journalist to the one who had contacted the discussion group.

In the article, a mother suggests that the NDIS be delayed because she had some difficulties with it. As pointed out in the discussion group, if she had had the years of frustration of trying to survive and cope with a fragmented and underfunded non-NDIS disability sector, her attitude to her NDIS hassles might have been very different. I am curious, if she had enthusiastically endorsed the NDIS and not said its rollout should be delayed, would the Australian have reported her comments?

Found an Interviewee

So far, no one has gotten back to my post. I am not surprised, as I have had limited success with similar requests I have made on social media. But while doing more research, I discovered the LEAD program in Geelong which has a number of participants in the NDIS who volunteer to tell people about it. And one of those participants is a fellow Divine writer. I sent him an email and he has agreed to an interview. Yay. I just sent him a number of questions.

But I would still like another point of view for the article, preferably from someone who is just an ordinary client of the NDIS. So I have just reposted my request to the discussion group, this time including my questions.  


Anthony J. Langford said...

It's horrendous what this Government are doing. All newspapers are biased and corrupt. The more I learn, the more distressed it makes me and the more powerless I feel.

Best of luck with your research Graham. I have thought of you many times when this comes up in the media.

Graham Clements said...

Thanks for the thoughts Anthony. I just wrote the first draft of the article today. Although I am all for the NDIS - even more so after all the research I did for this article - I feel my personal opinion has not stopped me from writing a balanced article on one partipant's experience of the NDIS.