letter of protest about ignoring autism and misinformation from the Health Department

Subject: letter of protest about ignoring autism and misinformation from the Health Department
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2021 17:21:35 +1100
From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <convenor@a4.org.au>
To: Minister.Hunt@health.gov.au
CC: Chris.Bowen.MP@aph.gov.au, Senator Jordon Steele-John <senator.steele-john@aph.gov.au>

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, known as A4, wrote to you on 11/8/2020 and again on 1/11/2020.

Our initial letter expressed concern that while the Health Department created a "National roadmap for improving the health of Australians with intellectual disability", this "roadmap"  does not address, consider or even recognise the needs of autistic Australians with mental illness.

Subsequently, we have received several letters (MC20-042281 and MC20-042016) from your Department that both say

The Roadmap is underpinned by an inclusive approach so it can meet the needs of all people with intellectual disability including those who have autism.

Frankly, we cannot see how your Department's National roadmap for improving the health of Australians with intellectual disability "includes" people with "autism". Autism spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a distinct condition, including being distinct from intellectual disability. Autism is not mentioned (or "included" in any way) in the national "roadmap" document.

A4 is extremely disappointed, alarmed, and somewhat offended, that the content of our communication about the lack or recognition of ASD in our letter to you was completely ignored; that you and your Department completely failed/refused to acknowledge or recognise our concerns and then keep on claiming that you include autistic people, when clearly you excluded them.

This letter is to protest formally, and in the strongest possible terms, about:

  1. your completely ignoring the information we provided about ASD; and
  2. your Department's persistent misinformation about your "national roadmap" and their assertion that people with intellectual disability somehow includes "those with autism".

We note that a dialogue has started following MC20-042281; we see this a small positive sign. We hope it goes further.

--

Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
website: https://a4.org.au/

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, known as A4, is the national grassroots organisation advocating for autistic people, their families, carers and associates. A4 is internet based so that Australians anywhere can participate.
Note for politicians and bureaucrats – Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia's policy on unanswered questions is available at https://a4.org.au/node/1419.

“The first step in solving any problem is recognising there is one.” Jeff Daniels as Will McEvoy in The Newsroom.