Dear Friend,

As a fellow Australian with a disability, and as fellow member of the disability community, I write to you with a request. I would not ordinarily be so presumptuous as to lobby you in this way, without invitation, but the message I seek to convey is of such importance that I am compelled to do so.

My call to you, dear friend, is this: before today is through, submit a review to some public forum (for example, this lovely website, Clickability.com.au).

The reasons and benefits are numerous, but there are the four closest to my heart:

1. The NDIS will not succeed without honest feedback to navigate by

So many fought so hard to see Australia commence a National Disability Insurance Scheme. Yet the journey has only just begun, and our success depends not just on the flow of money, but a fundamental shift in how we approach disability. There are many unsolved problems. But to break current habits, and discover new possibilities, we need honest feedback, where all can see it, to light the way.

2. Feedback blossoms with diversity

The account of one person, however true, is easily dismissed, and rightly so. For no one person sees the full picture, nor could they express it if they did. It is only when many people, with varied backgrounds, needs, and experiences share their accounts alongside each other, that patterns can be discerned and a meaningful picture can emerge. With each new and independent contribution, the value of all prior reviews is multiplied fourfold; yet each contributor need only act alone.

3. The collective needs your leadership

In any endeavour, it can be difficult to go first, or go early. So too it is with feedback. I have myself struggled to take the leap to be among the first to go on record. For even with assurances of anonymity, there is the fear that too much weight might be placed on one’s lonely opinion, or that it will be misconstrued or distorted. What right have you to go first? No right, but a duty; for someone must go first for the common good. And in you, my friend, I see the courage to lead.

4. You shall be enlightened by your own insight

As much as it is a duty to review, it’s also a gift to yourself. It has been my experience that by recounting an experience for others, focusing on the benefit that can be conferred on the audience, one gains a quality of insight like no other. One comes to understand one’s own needs and desires, and an experience, whether pleasant or painful, furnishes great wisdom.

If you can agree with but a fraction of the case I’ve made, then take action in whatever way you can manage. For now is a key moment for the Australian disability community, with an opportunity to set a course for great things.

Yours in solidarity,

A fellow traveler

Mark Brown

Mark is a researcher, consultant, and wheelchair-based humanoid. By day, he works for Dyson Consulting Group, and by late afternoon, he’s Clickability’s data guru and pigeon wrangler. For more from Mark, visit his website.

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