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Viewing entries tagged with 'society'

An uncivil society? Reply from the HRC about immigration discrimination

Posted by Philip on 20 February 2016, 8:59 am in , , ,

The Disability Commissioner was away sick last week but yesterday I received the following reply to my letter from the Human Rights Commission's Senior Legal Advisor:

"Unfortunately, section 392 of the Immigration Act restricts the ability of the Human Rights Commission to get involved in certain immigration-related matters and specifically precludes the consideration of complaints about content or application of immigration decisions and instructions. I have copied this section of the Immigration Act below for your reference.

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The age of the one-off

Posted by Philip on 11 June 2015, 9:17 am in , , , ,

It seems like neo-liberalism has reached its farcical extreme in the last week or so. First with Lecretia Seales' bid before the High Court for the right to die with dignity.

Then Peter Dunne gives Ministerial approval, on compassionate grounds, for the one-off use of Elixinol, a cannabis product, for Alex Renton who is in "status epilepticus", a kind of prolonged seizure.

The latter is made all the more ironic given Dunne was behind the prohibition of legal highs. Add tot his his disclaimer, "Ministerial approval in this case does not extend beyond Mr Renton's application and should in no way be construed as setting a wider precedent," and I'm left wondering where this is heading.

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The courage to choose death

Posted by Philip on 6 August 2013, 1:16 pm in , , , ,

This morning I received an email from Peter Taylor, whom I've known as an acquaintance through gay circles for many years, but got to know quite well in 2011 when he was a participant on the Be. Leadership programme, which I co-direct.

His bio on the Speakers NZ website reads, in part:

"...At the Barcelona Olympics, Peter was infected by a sand fly, transmitted by a parasite after patting a dog and the subsequent infection destroyed his bone marrow and attacked the internal organs. He has been told he would die four times and needs continual treatments of chemotherapy to manage the chronic illness ... He has received 870 doses of chemotherapy over the past fifteen years. He is also the only person in the world to have lived this long with this particular parasitic infection, visceral Leishmaniasis Donavanni."

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The light and shadow of police

Posted by Philip on 21 March 2012, 7:24 am in , ,

When I studied social work in the early 90s, we were taught that the Police were the "Government's gang" (back then, but not so much now, the "white gang", even).

The way they operate, their structure, their demand for loyalty — all have similarities to gang culture. They have a patch, just like gangs. The difference is, their actions are sanctioned by law and society.

Of course the parallels are not exact. But a visit to Manukau Police HQ last week with Leadership NZ reminded me that, through the Police lens, it is easy to divide society into good and bad, right and wrong, those who obey the law and those who don't.

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Anything you say may be used against you...

Posted by Philip on 1 February 2012, 6:00 am in , , ,

...in a court of law.

What an embarrassing mantra for a civil society, where one is supposedly innocent until proven guilty.

I know a parent being prosecuted for theft of Government funding approved for their significantly disabled child, and I read of grandparents being denied money to care for their grandchildren.

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Diversity and decay: it's not what you'd think

Posted by Philip on 14 July 2011, 2:26 pm in , , , , , , ,

There was so much I learnt in the recent retreat run by Sue Davidoff and Allan Kaplan of the Proteus Initiative. I want to share another amazing insight, this time about the nature of diversity itself (and when I say "nature" I mean both the phenomena of the physical world and the basic or inherent features of something).

One of the exercises we did was to go and observe plants that were growing and dying (or decaying). We were asked to observe them carefully and then sketch them. Obviously the latter action is not a forté of mine but observation doesn't require much dexterity and I made a discovery that literally left me reeling for a moment. Let me use these two pictures to demonstrate what I saw. Can you see it too?

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Social change and a civil society

Posted by Philip on 10 April 2011, 5:34 pm in , , , ,

Image of an ink stamp saying "Who are you?"Transcript of my presentation to Be. Leadership programme - retreat #2 on Sat 9 April 2011

I want to start by taking you back 15 years ago, when I was sitting backstage before my very first comedy gig. We had just had our 5 minute call and it had been decided that I would go on first. I had this moment where I thought, “What the … have I done?!! Why on earth did I ever think it would be a good idea to get up on stage in a wheelchair and do comedy?” And yet 6 months before when I had decided to do it, it seemed like a really good idea.

When I reflect on that situation I reckon it must have been very similar to when I was born. I would have been sitting in my mothers womb with my brother and I had decided to come out first. I would have thought, “Why on earth have I decided to come into this life?” At that point I think I would have known it was going to be "interesting".

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Coughing, sneezing, burping and farting

Posted by Philip on 8 March 2011, 4:21 pm in , , ,

So here's the thing: we've all done it. Held in that fart in the middle of a meeting, despite the discomfort of the wind staying trapped in your bloated bowel. Or desperately, hopefully, let it slip out surreptitiously, silently. But you know those are the smelly ones.

Wait 30-45 seconds for osmosis to set in.

Everyone looks around, knowingly, scathingly. You look particularly innocent, wondering if it would make you more or less likely a suspect if you say the obvious, "Ok, who dropped that?"

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Paul Henry: so why all the fuss now?

Posted by Philip on 9 October 2010, 8:40 am in , , ,

I don't really want to give Paul Henry any more attention — I'm sure he is absolutely reveling in the media and dining-room hysteria he has created, in the same way a naughty, pubescent boy would.

But I think it is worth pointing out the fact that it was not until Henry insulted one privileged New Zealander (Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand) to another (Prime Minister John Key) that the nation finally said, enough.

When Henry unleashed on people experiencing intellectual disability — arguably the least valued and powerful group of citizens in our society — hardly a squeak was heard from Jo and Joe Public. It was chiefly the disability community and sector that raised concerns and fought in self-defense.

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