Ceci n'est pas une voiture

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1. "Have you got a licence for that thing?"
No. It's a wheelchair. A mobility device. Have you a licence for those legs?

2. "Watch you don't get a speeding ticket."
From whom? I am in a shopping mall. What's the speed limit?  I am going slightly faster than you are walking.

3. "I wish I had one of those."
As someone who can walk, run, climb, tap dance, etc., what possible reason do you have for wishing you had a wheelchair?

4. "You should get a bell."
No. You should listen when someone says, "Excuse me."

5. "Don't get done for speeding."
I won't. I'm not. You are dawdling.

6. "Do you do stunts?"
No. I do patience, but I'm getting worse at it by the second.

7. "Have you got a licence for that?"
That's not even the first time I have heard that today.

8. "Have you passed a driving test?"
Yes. for a car.

9. "You could get points for speeding."
I really couldn't.
10. "Do you need a licence for one of those?"...

"No. This is clearly not a car. Do you need a special permit to have an original thought of your own one day?"

"I was only having a joke, mate. What's your problem?"

The cost of serving.

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It's been a couple of weeks since the Invictus Games in Sydney. I wrote two piece for the ABC during the Games, links to which can be found below.

The first is a profile of Brendan Hardman, who I had the pleasure of playing against at a few wheelchair basketball tournaments in the last year. He was part of the Australian Invictus team who came to some of the NSW competitions to gain a bit of match practice. The article charts Brendan's journey from the crushing impact of PTS to signing up to play in the National League for WA-based team Red Dust Heelers.

The second piece was the result of a profoundly moving interview with Chris Pitman and his partner Kylie, who spoke very frankly about the experience of living wth PTS and the impact it can have on the family.

The interviewees for both articles have benefitted from the support offered by The Road Home, a charity based in South Australia. There are also other organisations offering support, but as with many aspects of Australian life, there is some regional inconsistency due to State-based services, rather than a national strategy.

I must confess that I was disappointed to learn, shortly after the end of the Invictus Games, that the federal government is going to spend $500,000,000 on digging a huge hole under the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, in order to display some helicopters and other pieces of military hardware. It seems obscene that so much can be spent on looking after old pieces of kit, while veterans and their families are suffering a lack of support while dealing with the impact of mental health issues that have resulted from service.

Invictus Sydney 2018

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I am very fortunate to be part of the ABC team covering the Invictus Games in Sydney 2018.

This presents many opportunities to look at subjects very close to my heart, around peer-to-peer support and mentoring, and of course access and inclusion.

It also gives me the opportunity to claim bragging rights when I catch up with the Australian Invictus wheelchair basketball team.

On a more serious note, the role that sport has played in my rehabilitation, and indeed Stoke Mandeville's place as the cradle of the Paralympic movement, means that the stories of mutual support that take place around sport resonate strongly with me, and I hope that I can do some justice to that narrative over the next week.

As to where my content is likely to appear, in this multi-platform world, I really can't say, but I'll make sure to flag it up. I am also on twitter @TRushbyS where I will also be posting about the Games.

With the Australian Government announcing $4.5 billion in extra funding for private schools, I can't help but reflect on the many times that budget constraints are cited as justification for inadequate access in state schools.
'Difficult decisions', relating to 'old buildings' are always couched in the context of 'limited resources'. If the access issues relate to a child with a disability, then some kind of retro-fit of access solutions may be offered (even though the building is brand new and therefore should be accessible), but if you are seeking to participate in your role as a parent with a disability, then forget it.

In a nutshell, if you have sufficient disposable income to choose to send your child to a fee paying school, then Scomofo's Government applauds your decision. To celebrate your choice, he will give taxpayer funded financial support to said school.

"But wait," I hear you say (I know. it's like I'm psychic or something)...
What if you have a disability and make the decision to send your child to a state school? Surely the Christian Value-driven (boat arrivals not included), Fair-dinkum-power loving Prime Minister will ensure that funding is made available to bring state school infrastructure up to the standards that have been enshrined in Federal law since 2011?

Not so much.

I'll be honest. When it comes to the language that is being used by the government around this issue, it makes my blood boil.
"there should be affordable choices for non-state schools," says Morrison. He even had the temerity to link the funding to the drought, which for some reason involves Catholic schools (not sure why. Presumably, if you believe in an omnipotent deity, the drought is His doing. Probably best not get involved, I'd say).

But seriously, saying that sending your child to a fee-paying school, religious or otherwise  there should be affordable choices for non-state schools should be a right and one that the Government helps to fund are laughable when limited resources are cited as the justification for buildings that exclude people with a disability, or when remote communities have their funding slashed because living away from a major conurbation is a 'lifestyle choice'.

People used to tell me how Australia doesn't have a class system like the UK. But when you can give your child an advantage by paying for their education, and when government will take money from the schools budget to support that choice? That my friends is a class system, right there.

The process

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Beyond The Break

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