Archive for September, 2014

September 15, 2014

Open Letter To The Cruel Australian Government: An Austerity Suicide

added by Penny Carter

In the UK they are called Austerity suicides, people on disability pensions, or suffering cancer, or returned soldiers, who are judged by ATOS – an IT company – of not being disabled enough and get their benefits cut. To combat less than 1% alleged fraud, the conservative government told ATOS to reduce benefits by 20%. Meanwhile politicians can claim moat cleaning as a tax deduction.

Pre-election last year, many predicted similar things would happen in Australia. Guess what – that is what has happened. Under 30 years old no unemployment benefits for you. Just as well those bill can wait 6 months. Dementia payments, cut. School kids bonus, cut. Payments to orphans of military personnel, cut. What wasn’t cut faces a massive fee rise – TAFE, university, everything. $7 to see a doctor? it is the cost of a cup of coffee – except people who count every penny never spend $7 on a cup of coffee, that is a days food.

Anyway, until a couple of years ago, my life was good. Loving husband, nice house, good job. Until the day I came home from work and my disabled sibling was on the front doorstep. My family decided that my siblings care was my responsibility, since I worked in aged-care, child-care, disability-care, violent-young-offender with multiple-mental-disability.

My other siblings couldn’t do it, one was a nurse who looked after Prime Ministers wives and ambassadors, other was a geographical engineer, another a lawyer, I was told that care for my sibling was “beneath them, but right for you”. Such a loving family. I flashed back to when I was kicked out of home when I was barely 15 while my siblings were showered with houses, overseas holidays, university education, cars. Meanwhile I was living in a car under a bridge trying to go to school and stay alive. My sibling was not a cute child who people would grow to love, but a morbidly obese, pyromaniac, who used physical violence to get anything they wanted if they ever heard the word NO.

After a few months with my sibling living with us, the house was completely trashed, my husband (after being threatened with having the police called because he wasn’t going to buy pizza for dinner) reached breaking point and said although he loved me, he didn’t sign up for that. I couldn’t keep any food in the house, or it would all be eaten within a day of shopping. I couldn’t work steady hours, I was always being called home – like the time my sibling was naked on the roof demanding to watch Teletubbies or the police would hear about it. Neighbours said I was cruel for not allowing Teletubbies, the fact that Sibling had smashed my beautiful big screen only a few weeks before was somehow a sign of my cruelty. Friends stopped visiting, I ended up with thousands and thousands in doctors bills, Siblings and my own (broken bones, punches in the head, repeated straight arm punches to my neck) my house was reduced to basically a stove and a bed and I was eating one meal a day and scrounging an occasional shift.

I couldn’t leave Sibling alone, and I couldn’t afford anything else. I was at the end of my rope. And still people said I was selfish – I had lost my house, my marriage, my friends, almost lost my job, I was on the verge of losing my sanity. I have lost everything and people tell me I should give more. I would lull myself to sleep at night fantasising of putting Sibling in my car and driving through a red light, or overtaking a petrol tanker and breaking suddenly. Locking Sibling in a room and burning down the house was another frequent dream.

There is no help. This was not my problem and not my responsibility, but somehow I have lost everything in the past year as a result. So, no, I will no take the easy way and kill my Sibling. That would make me the bad guy and my family would be able to say it was all my fault.

There is no help, no assistance, nothing. I am not eligible for financial assistance, yet the bills keep piling up. The Gillard Governments NDIS was suppose to stop situations like this from happening. The nation cannot afford to look after the most vulnerable – not when there are wars to wage, planes to buy, Joe Hockeys mortgage to pay off, fuel subsidies to big miners and nearly a billion dollars to Rupert Murdoch.

Food is optional, an hour of uninterrupted sleep is a luxury, I have a debt that I will never get out from under (because it is beneath my highly paid other siblings to help out), this is the rest of my life, and no one should have to live like this from a vibrant adulthood to a decrepit old age. I have tried everywhere for assistance, financial, social, even home help for an hour so I can sleep, no, that is not an option for me, my situation is not the worst out there.

My family have bleed me dry, taken everything, even hope for the future. I can see no way out, I can’t live in an Australia where someone like me can get out of this situation I have found myself in. I have nothing more to give, I have nothing more for them to take. Instead the only thing I have left is my own life and when I am cold, Sibling will be someone elses burden, for the rest of their lives. And the idea that someone else will have deal with Sibling cheers me no end.

So thank you to the family who abandoned me at 15 then burdened me with this, thank you to the Australian government who has decided I am not worthy of help, thank you to friends and family that walked away when I needed help. I am finally free, let my spirit soar because the weight of this has finally been lifted.