A One Nation video mocking the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which includes offensive depictions of people with a disability, has been condemned, with advocates calling for party leader Pauline Hanson to remove the video and apologize. The clip, which was posted on Friday, is from the YouTube series Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain, and describes the NDIS as a “scam” and a “rort”.
The People with Disability Australia president, Nicole Lee, said the video showed “insensitive cruelty” and it contained “offensive, inappropriate and inaccurate depictions of disability supports under the NDIS”.
“People with disability experience high levels of abuse as it is and now we’re being used as cheap shots for political point scoring,” she said.
Lee said the scheme provided benefits not only to people with a disability but to the wider Australian community.
“Through the NDIS, people with disability are one of the biggest contributors to the Australian economy, delivering $2.25 for every dollar spent in the scheme or more than $2bn a year,” she said.
The NDIS was legislated in 2013 and entitles people under 65 who have a full and permanent disability to funding for relevant support services. The scheme supports more than 550,000 Australians.
The second largest social program after the pension, the NDIS cost $35.8bn in 2022-23. The scheme is forecast to cost more than $50bn a year by 2025-26. Blaming Coalition neglect, Labor has announced an independent review into the scheme, which is expected to be handed to disability reform ministers by October 2023.
The One Nation video was also described as reprehensible by the disability discrimination commissioner, Ben Gauntlett.
“Politically motivated and callous use of humor at the expense of people with disability does not improve social policy. Rather, it creates fear, division, and resentment,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Advocacy for Inclusion head of policy, Craig Wallace, said Hanson’s video had blatantly misrepresented the NDIS’s ability to support people on a short-term basis and called on political leaders and regular Australians to condemn the video.
“The video inspires hatred against disabled people and is a particularly nasty and vile depiction of the lives of highly vulnerable people with disability released on Good Friday, which is a day of love and reflection for many people,” he said.
Wallace condemned the video’s suggestion that people with a disability were “scamming” the NDIS.
“We know we are actually more likely to be the victims of scams, poor services, and rip-offs by services and businesses seeking to profit from disabled people.”
People with Disability Australia and Advocacy for Inclusion have called for Hanson to withdraw the video and apologize.
The federal opposition leader, Peter Dutton, last month suggested that the Coalition would offer bipartisan support for cuts to the NDIS to pay for the Aukus nuclear submarines.
“It’s an incredibly important program but it needs to be sustainable,” he told ABC’s 7.30. “And if the cost trajectory of that is going to result in it falling over, I think the government itself has pointed out that’s not sustainable.
“So, if there are different ways in which we can provide support to the government, we’re happy to do that.”