Quarterly Essay 91: Lifeboat

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What ails the NDIS?

In this powerful essay, Micheline Lee tells the story of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), a transformative social change that ran into problems. For some users it has been an "oasis in the desert," but for others it has meant still more exclusion.
Lee explains how and why this happened, showing that the NDIS, for all its good intentions, has not understood people with disabilities well enough. She draws deeply on her own experience, on diverse case histories, as well as insights from moral philosophy and the law. She begins by considering what it is to be disabled. And since to be disabled is part of the human condition, she also considers what it is to be human.
This is an essay about common humanity and effective, lasting social change. "Unless you change how people think about things, you're not really going to change their actions or responses."