In this blog entry, I will be focusing on the chapter ‘Disability and Multiculturalism: Data and the “Healthy Migrant’ by Dinesh Wadiwel and Brian Cooper, from the book ‘For those who’ve come across the seas…’.
Wadiwel and Cooper argue that disability sits at the limits of the intersection between multiculturalism and state sovereignty in Australia while exploring the relationship through a discussion of survey data produced by the government and its capacity to identify and aid populations of people with disability.
Both Wadiwel and Cooper note that existing population data is lacking information, and they reflect on Michel Foucault’s observations on governmentality and state statistics, arguing there is a neglect for disabled people in Australia by the government as one with a disability is seen as one that cannot fully contribute economically and socially to society.
In depth, they discuss that:
- The NDIS will have residency requirements where only residents, migrant children, refugees and asylum seekers will be able to access services.
- Statistics and surveys about disabilities within Australian population may be vague and lacking information, because the surveys that individuals have to fill in may not accurately ask the right questions/compile the right information, and on the other hand, Australian sovereignty to neglect may be put into place in survey results, because if CALD individuals with disability cannot be show to exist, then they cannot be supported.
- People from NESB cannot always easily access services to help with disabilities as there may be cultural or language barriers in place. There is a plethora of evidence that highlights the fact that CALD individuals with disabilities in Australia do not access the services that they are entitled to at the same rate as other people with disability, because of barriers in place.
- The NDIS board doesn’t have one single member representing for CALD disabled individuals out of the main advisory group or the four expert groups, which poses problems in relation to enabling access to culturally appropriate workers and services for individuals through the NDIS.
- An individual that has a disability is seen as not contributing to society because they cannot fully participate socially and economically. They discuss the fact that the government has a priority to produce and reproduce a healthy population which will be able to fully participate economically and socially to the Australian economy, while they allow disabled individuals to diminish, as Foucault explains, because disabled individuals have caused a fall in production and treating them is expensive.
- There is a healthy migrant policy in Australia where if a migrant has a physical or mental disability, then they are likely not to be granted residency in because it is assumed they cannot contribute economically or socially to the nation state where they do not ‘produce’ but rather sap such productivity. Australian Immigrations acts from the start of the nation-state of Australia have focused on regulating race and ability.
This reading relates to my essay topic (number 4 referring to work) because it highlights the fact that disabled individuals in Australia are seen as though they do not contribute economically or socially to the Australian society, which highlights the fact that Immigration acts make it difficult for non-natives which have a disability to live and work in Australia. I feel as though this reading shows the racism that is inscribed into Immigration acts, allowing disabled individuals of non-English speaking backgrounds to be discriminated against from being allowed to live and work in Australia.