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Showing posts from April, 2016

On homelessness - and a blanket, under the stars.

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I know what it is to sleep rough.

I lived in the city, with other young people.  I was only fourteen, and the streets were the safest place for me. 

It was safer living under a bridge than it was living at home, because there was nobody on the streets who had ever tried to hurt me.

In the eyes of the law, I would not have been regarded as a 'genuine homeless' person.  I had a home, with a bed, with a blanket.  In the eyes of the law, I would have been seen as a runaway.  In the eyes of someone like the Lord Mayor of Perth, I would have been seen as someone who was 'not actually homeless'.  In the eyes of the City of Perth, I would have been regarded as someone who should be 'moved on'.

That's what happened last week to more than 100 mostly Aboriginal people living at Matagarup, a registered heritage site and Aboriginal meeting, camp site and hunting ground.

Homeless folk were forced to leave by police and council rangers, who arrested at least one man…

Petition - We Went To Lunch

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Yesterday, people with disability got mad.

They got mad because they were asked to use an unsafe, terrible ramp (at a brand new restaurant called 'Petition') to get to the accessible toilet.

You can read about that here.

Petition has been built as part of a larger refurbishment, one that cost 108 million dollars.  After the blog was published, a City of Perth Councillor told us that actually, there was an accessible toilet.

It just wasn't easy to get to, and it was a shame nobody was directed there, he said.

He pointed out that it was a heritage listed building, that getting upset was a bit 'silly' and that the developers had gone to great expense to install lifts. 

We thought we'd go and see for ourselves.

Jackie, Tom and I set out for lunch at Petition.  This what happened.

11.45am:  We arrive at the Kings car park and make our way down to St George's Terrace.  The City of Perth councillor has told us that there are lifts on the Terrace, and we're kee…

Petition – The 108 Million Dollar Redevelopment WIth No Disability Access

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Their website proudly boasts, ‘Over 100 years ago, petitioners would gather in the centre of Perth to lobby for causes they believed in. They would march down the terrace, lining the building where Petition now stands; on the Barrack St. side of the State Buildings. Here sits Petition Beer Corner, Petition Kitchen and Petition Wine Bar & Merchant. Three spaces that offer an 18-tap craft beer bar, a bistro and an inner city wine bar. Come and add your signature.’

Such a cute idea for a brand-new eatery. I hold fond memories of the State Buildings, where, as a sixteen year old outside clerk, I traipsed up and down stairs or into rickety lifts to deliver documents or have titles searched or stamped. Back then, I was not yet a wheelchair user. As a disability activist, it thrilled me that the old buildings held a history of social activism, of places where people came together for a cause.

That’s why it shocked me when I spotted this post in a friend’s newsfeed on social media.