Advocacy Update

Posted on 13 August 2021
By Tegan Carrison, Executive Director, AAPi

Submissions play an important role in advocacy efforts. This allows AAPi to clearly and consistently relay our key messages directly to the government and to counter misinformation submitted by other bodies. We have summarised two key submission for the last fortnight.

Inquiry into the purpose, intent and adequacy of the Disability Support Pension

AAPi covered the following in our submission;

  • the restrictions on practice of psychologists working with their clients to access DSP
  • inconsistencies in the requirements for each impairment table
  • the flow on effect of the restriction of practice of psychologists onto their disabled clients, particularly those in rural and remote areas
  • the low rate of pay for the DSP which inhibits care provision and medication compliance, further reducing quality of life for disabled Australians
  • the restrictive nature of the tables in that it does not cover the range of disabilities and chronic illnesses that prevent workforce participation
  • that tables are skewed by focussing on physical disabilities that impact specific body parts and exclude chronic systemic illnesses, circulatory conditions, connective tissue disorders and the after-effects of cancer treatment. 
  • diagnoses that may be cyclical or fluctuate in severity were also not adequately catered for.
  • consumers with several disabilities rather than one that gained enough points on any single table often struggle to be granted DSP
  • we asked that the impairment tables be immediately reviewed and that all practice restrictions on psychologists be removed.

The full submission is available here. We thank our many members who contributed to this submission and/or made an individual submission.

Victorian Government on workplace sexual harassment

AAPi contributed to the Victorian Government’s consultation paper on sexual harassment in the workplace, which called for submissions on how to better prevent and respond to workplace sexual harassment. We are incredibly fortunate to have Anne Marie Collins, who is both a practicing lawyer and psychologist as AAPi president. We thank Anne Marie for her contribution and expertise.

Anne Marie Collins authored a piece in support of a review of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), analysing them from the perspective of therapeutic jurisprudence.

Therapeutic jurisprudence is an approach to law which uses wellbeing as a lens through which to analyse and evaluate legal rules, procedures and processes.

The victim of sexual harassment should be able to choose whether an NDA is put in place and have a clause that they may disclose at some future date, because it will allow them to do whatever self- care they need, including therapies to reduce the reactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. It will also allow them to consider future options more calmly. 

Giving a targeted person their voice, to ensure they are respectfully heard, means harm may be reduced and their recovery more likely. 

Anne Marie points out that when trauma occurs, sometimes the memories are laid down differently than other non-trauma autobiographical memories. Sometimes, there is also a negative impact on one’s capacity to speak about it and because the time it takes to talk about it again without re-experiencing the trauma varies, a clause to be able to disclose this trauma at a future date should be included in any NDA. 

Validation of the targeted person has been demonstrated to increase possible recovery from trauma and reduce negative trauma effects. However, when a party alleged to have harassed needs to be defensive and disclose as little as possible, recovery continues to be difficult to achieve.