OPPORTUNITY FOR NDIS BIPARTISANSHIP
The Labor Party, the Greens and the independents have an opportunity to rise above partisanship and support a cross-party approach to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Following debate on Monday 20 August, the House of Representatives is now awaiting the vote on a motion by George Christensen MP to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee to be chaired by both sides of politics to oversee the implementation of an NDIS.
The introduction of an NDIS will span several parliaments. There needs to be a mechanism to elevate the implementation of this historic reform above partisan politics.
Disappointingly, on 27 June the Labor Party and the Greens in the Senate combined to vote down the establishment of this committee.
The Leader of the Opposition has also written to Prime Minister Gillard four times offering bipartisanship and proposing a joint parliamentary oversight committee. The Prime Minister has rejected the offer.
Rather than engage constructively with the Coalition to see an NDIS become a reality, the Government to date has rejected the hand of bipartisanship.
The NDIS should be owned by the Parliament as a whole, not by any political party. The Government should ensure this motion is brought to a vote as soon as possible and support it.
Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (10:55): I move:
That this House:
(1) recognises that the:
(a) proposal of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a once-in-a-generation landmark reform that has the potential to deliver better quality of life outcomes for Australians with disabilities;
(b) schedule for implementation of the NDIS, as proposed by the Productivity Commission, will take seven years, spanning the life of three Parliaments; and
(c) NDIS is a reform that involves the cooperation and support of state and territory governments, the disability support services sector, people with a disability and their families and carers;
(2) notes the bipartisan and cross-party support for the implementation of the NDIS;
(3) declares its support for policy stability on the NDIS over the life of those three Parliaments and until the scheme’s full implementation; and
(4) resolves to immediately establish a Joint Select Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme which will:
(a) oversee the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme;
(b) be subject to terms of reference to be agreed upon by the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader and ratified by this House;
(c) be comprised of 4 Government members and/or Senators, 4 Opposition members and/or Senators, 1 Greens member and/or Senator and 1 non-aligned member and/or Senator;
(d) be jointly chaired by 1 Government member and 1 Opposition member; and
(e) remain in existence until the full implementation of the NDIS is achieved; and
(5) transmit a message to establish a Joint Select Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme to the Senate for concurrence.