It’s not very often I’m completely lost for words. As a rehabilitation doctor, I’m very hard to shock and I can usually come up with at least a platitude for an given situation.
And then you see something like this.
Now I completely understand how easy it is to be taken out of context, or to make an off-the-cuff remark that seems insensitive, Been there, done that, got the dressing-down from the rightly aggrieved party.
But I really can’t say nothing when I see a major public figure like the Myer CEO say something so incredibly insensitive.
Allow me to point out to Mr Bernie Brookes that the NDIS if fully and adequately implemented will actually increase his customer base, rather then shrink it. The aims of the NDIS are to redistribute Australia’s considerable per capita wealth to allow around 400,000 of the most disadvantaged in our community a better shot at earning a living.
I simply can’t imagine how a wealthy middle-aged man like Mr Brookes who has climbed the corporate ladder and been a huge beneficiary of our generous tax and superannuation concessions to the top 10% of earners could gripe and rail against a measure which would bring his company a huge windfall. Not having to be out of pocket for so many everyday expenses (things which a healthy, English-speaking, well-educated man like Mr Brookes would not have ever thought about having to pay for) will bring hundreds of thousands of disabled consumers through the doors of stores like Myer. People with disabilities love quality coffee machines and LCD TVs like anybody else. It’s just that they can’t afford them because they’re too busy paying for services and equipment out of their pension to keep themselves out of hospital.
I have a one particular patient with a lifelong severe disabling illness which she has had since birth, who has now lived 10 years past her predicted life span, and shows every sign of going on longer than that. She has gotten her driver’s license and now has to fundraise to afford a modified car. I’d be happy to organize for Mr Bernie Brookes to give her one, if he is looking for a public gesture to make up for his unintentional but enormously offensive comment.
It would certainly be less expensive and more constructive than another round of advertising and PR advice.