Page 1403 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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They help to remind us that this is not just about dollars and cents, this is not just about a theoretical argument, but this is about humans. It is about people and it is about a change that we in this Assembly can make for a relatively small amount of money that will have a huge impact on people’s lives, a massive impact on people’s lives, and the lives of people that we as members of this Assembly should be caring about the most. But it seems so often in this place when we are debating technical and regulatory amendments, we talk about the money without understanding the impact of it. I do recommend to members that they go to that website and that they read some of those stories.

I am disappointed that the government are not going to engage. It is disappointing that this government seem to have discounted this proposal because they do not like the politics of it, perhaps, but when they do consider the schools, the centres that have been set up in other jurisdictions, that have been set up by federal Labor, perhaps they could look to take the politics out of this. I am sure that if they were to take this model and make changes, we would work with them, with the government, in a truly bipartisan sense to make sure that it is not about political squabbling in this place, it is not about the sort of smear that we saw when Joy Burch was just trying to take political opportunism. It is about making sure that we work together in this place to provide an outcome for the community, in this case some of the most needy people in our community.

The amendment by Ms Burch is not one that we would support because it steps well away from what Mr Doszpot is calling for, and that is some real action. What we are seeing again is another piece of fluff from the government. We actually need to see some action. I do not think autism is new. I do not think it is a new debate. We have had this debate for a long time in our community, and now is the time to act. And I commend Mr Doszpot for the work he has done in this area.

This is something that is tangible. It is a great policy. There is probably some work that the government can do to improve it, and I would welcome that. But let us get on with it and let us get rid of the political argy-bargy. Let us stop trying to come up with excuses and let us actually start in this place with this government delivering for people with ASD in this community.

MR SESELJA (Brindabella) (10.56): I commend Mr Doszpot, and I want to lend my whole-hearted support to this motion and to the policies that are outlined in Mr Doszpot’s motion. This is good policy that makes a real difference and is making a real difference to people right now. Right now kids with autism are being given support that is quite extraordinary. Anyone who wants to speak on this should go and visit one of these schools and see the difference that it makes to these kids and see the difference that it makes to the parents of these children as they see real early intervention that works. This is a model that works. I defy anyone to suggest that it does not, and I defy anyone to suggest that it is a waste of taxpayers’ money or a bad model. It is working around the country. It is working in places like Queensland, right across Queensland, and it is a model that can and should work here in the ACT.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and it gives us the opportunity to increase understanding and knowledge of this disorder but also to advocate on behalf of people

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