Polio Australia is, once again, asking for polio “heroes” to join them at Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday 26th June 2013, in the lead up to September’s federal election.
We encourage as many polio survivors and their supporters as possible to join the federal election “We’re Still Here!” Campaign. There has never been a better time to make our voices heard, especially as most polio survivors will not derive any benefit from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (now Disability Care Australia) due to the 65 age limit by the 2018 roll out.
What else you can do to participate:
- Our new “We’re Still Here!” Campaign blog site is coming soon where you will be able to post about how polio affected you and those around you, and how the Late Effects of Polio are impacting on your life now. Encourage your family and friends to do the same! Watch this space for the announcement that the blog site is live!
- Check here for your Local Federal Member, tell us who it is, and what you would like us to ask them on your behalf. This is the opportunity for our politicians to tell us why we should be voting for them, and what they will do to support their post-polio constituents!
For those of you who can join us on Wednesday 26th June, there is still accommodation in Canberra but you will have to move quickly to secure it as we are descending on Canberra during the last week of sitting of the Julia Gillard Parliament.
Our 32 Campaign Heroes have all paid for themselves to travel and stay in Canberra, and they are arriving from across Australia: 3 from the ACT; 19 from NSW; 3 from Qld; 6 from Vic; and 1 from across the continent from WA!
The Campaign Heroes will be meeting with 16 Members and Senators during Morning Tea, and an additional 8 Members and Senators have agreed to meet with small campaign groups later to discuss the support they need to manage the late effects of polio.
Our Heroes are frustrated with lack of funding for much needed services that polio survivors and their families need. They will speaking up for all of Australia’s survivors. Of course, Polio Australia is delighted that the Australian Government is committing $80 million over the next four year to help with the eradication of the vicious poliovirus that robbed so many of us of our own childhood. And yet . . . there is still no commitment to funding any support or information services for our country’s polio survivors who are now trying to cope with its cruel legacy.
So why do we keep asking? And what good will it do? Well, there has actually been some progress from all this ‘profile raising’:
- Polio Australia’s lobbying resulted in the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing holding a Roundtable Forum on the Late Effects of Polio / Post-Polio Syndrome in March 2012.
- Polio Australia was invited to give both written and verbal evidence to the Senate Inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2012 – in our submissions we deplored the injustice for polio survivors of the age 65 cut off.
- Polio Australia’s publication The Late Effects of Polio: Introduction to Clinical Practice was launched by the Hon Catherine King, one of our Parliamentary Patrons, who also accepted a Petition addressed to the Minister for Health – Please fund services for polio survivors, who form the largest single physical disability group in the country. Funding is urgently required to ensure that polio survivors are provided with the support and specialised services they need to be diagnosed, treated, and assisted to manage the complex and debilitating symptoms they are now experiencing. Polio Australia also requires funding to continue providing support, information and education to polio survivors, health professionals and the community.
- There are now numerous references in Hansard and the media regarding Australian polio survivors and the lack of appropriate services.
It’s clear that Polio Australia is the ONLY organisation that can progress and achieve all the support and information services we know are vital to make a positive contribution to the health and well-being of Australia’s post-polio community.
The presentation of the Polio Family Tree represents the wider circle of people, not only polio survivors but also their families, friends, colleagues, and treating health professionals, who are all dealing with the late effects of polio.
If you are not joining us in Canberra, why not share your story and highlight the issues you face as a polio survivor, and what needs to be done.
Standing together with our Campaign Heroes, we can make a difference!
Contact Mary-ann (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and/or to add your name to the list of campaign heroes heading to Canberra!