Archer Magazine 9

[image description: the cover of Archer Magazine’s Issue 9, depicting Abbey Mag, a beautiful black fat femme looking over their shoulder, wearing gold eyeshadow, pink lipstick, pink heart-shaped earrings and a pink faux fur shrug.]

I wrote an article for Archer Magazine Issue #9 about finding queercrip family and community. You can preview the issue here, or buy it here.

I’ll be reading an excerpt at the launch party, Wednesday 24 January at 6:30pm, at the Red Rattler Theatre, Marrickville. You can buy tickets here.

Join us for the launch of Archer Magazine #9 in SYDNEY!

A very special launch party to celebrate Issue #9: Family, and also celebrating Archer Magazine founder Amy Middleton’s last issue as editor before taking maternity leave.

$5 Ticket price covers cost of the event including venue hire, performers, speakers, and AUSLAN interpreters
$10 Ticket price covers event costs plus a small donation to Archer Magazine
$20 Ticket price covers event costs plus a copy of Archer Magazine #9 at the discounted launch price of $15 (magazine to be collected at the launch)

–Issue #9: Family–
Polyamory, infidelity, HIV and gay men, trans kids, fat femme visibility. We don’t mean the traditional kind of family, we mean the most important kind.

Come celebrate, connect with the community, grab a copy of the magazine and have a dance.

Venue: Red Rattler Theatre, 6 Faversham St, Marrickville.
The Red Rattler is a community run, accessible theatre space. Venue is wheelchair accessible, bathrooms are gender neutral. The event will be AUSLAN interpreted by Amanda Galea, with simple (no flashing/strobe) lighting, and quiet/dark spaces available. There will be breaks between each speaker for a chance to digest, and process. Any other accessibility needs, please contact Lucy, lucy@archermagazine.com.au

We acknowledge our event will take place on stolen land from the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to Indigenous elders past, present and future. Sovereignty was never ceded.


“crips against the camps” in red block capitals, “rally for manus refugees” in smaller white block capitals, on a black background

On Friday the 17th of November, the University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective held a protest outside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office, condemning the current refugee crisis and demanding the immediate evacuation of Manus Island.

We also delivered a statement & list of demands, which you can read below, or download as a word document here: University of Sydney Disabilities and Carers Collective Statement and List of Demands. You can also read it at the Disabilities & Carers Collective’s Facebook page here.

#EvacuateManus #CripsAgainstTheCamps

Crips Against The Camps protest

[image: eight young activists from the University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective & Sydney Grassroots with their crossed arms raised at a protest outside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office in Edgecliff. One is a wheelchair user, one has a purple cane, & one has a sight cane. There is a megaphone on the ground. Two of the activists (myself and my mate charlie) are repping Annie Segarra’s excellent THE FUTURE IS ACCESSIBLE shirts.]

University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective Statement in Solidarity With Manus Island Refugees & Condemning the Ongoing Refugee Crisis

The University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective acknowledges:

  1. (i) That Australia is a racist settler state built on colonial violence;
    (ii) that the founders of “Australia” also came here on boats and without permission;
    (iii) that sovereignty was never ceded and there is no treaty with our Indigenous peoples;
    (iv) that the Aboriginal Provisional Government and the Indigenous Social Justice Association have stated that asylum seekers are welcome on Aboriginal lands in Australia;
    (v) and that the false Australian government consequently has no right to refuse entry to refugees.
  1. (i) That the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which Australia ratified in 1954, defines a refugee as someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion;
    (ii) that 90% of asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat have been found to be legitimate refugees under the UN Convention, even though the terms of the Convention itself are limited;
    (iii) that the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Control’s insistence on referring to legitimate refugees as “illegal maritime arrivals” and “immigration detention detainees” is dehumanising and disingenuous.
  1. (i) That according to Australia’s ratification of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, this government has an obligation to provide aid to refugees fleeing persecution, regardless of whether Australia has processed their claim or recognised their refugee status;
    (ii) that the Convention must be applied without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, country of origin, sex, age, disability, sexuality, or other prohibited grounds of discrimination;
    (iii) that the Convention recognises that refugees are often forced to breach immigration rules and should not be penalised for entering or staying illegally, nor should their freedom of movement be restricted, and that prohibited penalties include charges of immigration or criminal offences relating to the seeking of asylum, or arbitrary detainment purely on the basis of seeking asylum;
    (iv) that the Convention stipulates that no one shall expel or return (“refoule”) a refugee against their will, in any manner whatsoever, to a territory where they fear threats to life or freedom;
    (v) that under the Convention refugees have rights including the right to access to the courts, to primary education, to work, and the provision for documentation, including a refugee travel document in passport form;
    (vi) and that according to the Convention Australia is currently failing its obligations to refugees.
  1. (i) That Nauru and Manus Island are deeply harmful environments;
    (ii) that refugees on Nauru and Manus and in onshore detention centres experience a disproportionate prevalence of PTSD, suicidal ideation, and self-harm, as a direct result of their retraumatising surroundings;
    (iii) that the Australian government has placed refugees in environments that have caused them to develop mental, emotional, and physical disabilities arising out of trauma and neglect;
    (iv) that the Australian government has consequently failed to provide adequate healthcare to refugees.
  1. (i) That forcible institutionalisation of marginalised peoples is detrimental to health, happiness, freedom, and autonomy;
    (ii) that the forcible institutionalisation of disabled people is not so different to the forcible institutionalisation of refugees, and in both instances leads to further traumatisation, abuse, and neglect;
    (iii) and that disabled people in our Collective and the refugees on Manus, Nauru, and in onshore detention, many of whom are disabled themselves, share a common struggle.
  1. (i) That potential healthcare costs of refugees and asylum seekers are not a reason to deny them aid;
    (ii) that the above argument is a deeply eugenicist position and one that is predicated on the assumption that the worth of a human life can be determined by how much a person costs the state;
    (iii) that the above argument perpetuates harmful narratives around health and healthcare that are deeply dangerous to disabled people;
    (iv) that the above argument violates the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees’ protections against discrimination on the basis of disability;
    (v) that refugee lives have worth regardless of how expensive their medical bills are;
    (vi) that it is a community’s responsibility to care for each other;
    (vii) and that refugees are part of our community.
  1. (i) That Australia has a responsibility to the refugees placed on Manus Island and subsequently abandoned;
    (ii) that the “alternative accommodations” provided to the abandoned refugees on Manus are not safe or adequate;
    (iii) that the refugees on Manus have a reasonable fear of persecution and violence if they continue to stay in Papua New Guinea;
    (iv) that Papua New Guinea’s immigration department and chief of police have issued statements disavowing responsibility for the Manus refugees and have called on Australia to fulfil its legal obligations;
    (v) that to place refugees in the harmful conditions on Manus was a human rights violation to begin with, and that to abandon them there is not a solution to the harm of offshore detention processing, but rather a compounding of the violence and mistreatment directed towards refugees applying to Australia for aid in the face of persecution.

Consequently, the The University of Sydney Disabilities & Carers Collective demands:

  1. That the Australian government evacuate the refugees and asylum seekers presently on Manus Island, close the detention centre on Nauru for good, and bring all the refugees and asylum seekers to the place of their choosing, whether that be Australia or New Zealand;
  2. That all mandatory detainment of refugees and asylum seekers should cease immediately;
  3. That all refugees and asylum seekers should be released into the community, and be given justice, freedom, legal and medical aid, and proper humanitarian support without delay;
  4. That Peter Dutton, the current Immigration Minister, be sacked, for gross dereliction of duty, for perpetuating harmful misinformation about refugees, and for participating in a system that enacted dire human rights abuses;
  5. That all future legislative approaches to refugees and asylum seekers, in both the government and the non-government sectors, across local, regional, national, and international levels, be led by consultation with the refugee community and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  6. That specific laws be implemented prohibiting the mandatory detention of refugees and asylum seekers;
  7. That the Australian government fulfil its obligations to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, including providing refugees with freedom, settlement, and humanitarian resources regardless of the way in which they came here;
  8. That the Australian government implement strategies for proper humanitarian aid with regard to refugees and asylum seekers travelling to Australia in dangerous conditions, including maritime rescue operations;
  9. That refugees and asylum seekers should be reunited with their families in cases where they have been involuntarily separated;
  10. That the Australian government adopt policies of accountability and repatriation, including acknowledging the torture and abuse that has been enacted under the auspices of the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Control, and making amends to those who have been directly or indirectly harmed as a result of the traumatising system of mandatory detention, the provision of appropriate healthcare and community support, and that the refugees and asylum seekers who have been harmed as a result of Australian government policies should be compensated along with their families, and that compensation should also be given to families of those who have lost their lives after being deported or forced to self-deport to danger.
F R E E  O U R  P E O P L E !

Ratified by:

The 2017 Disabilities & Carers Collective Office-Bearers
Mollie Galvin, Hannah Makragelidis, and Noa Zulman

The 2018 Disabilities & Carers Collective Office-Bearers
Robin Eames, Mollie Galvin, and Ren Rennie


…is infrastructural ableism.

Article out on Junkee regarding the Victorian assisted suicide (“voluntary assisted dying”) legislation. You can read it here.

To be quite honest the backlash to this article has me feeling queasy, exhausted, burnt out, and – ironically – experiencing a huge surge in suicidal ideation. So I’m not going to be super active online for a while, I think.

I am terminally ill and have witnessed the suffering and death of a loved one (my youngest sister). Please don’t feel the need to contact me relating the gory details of the death of someone you knew. I know how awful it is to be terminally ill because I am living it. I am not opposed to suicide. I have attempted it many times (trying very hard not to attempt it again today, in fact). I am concerned about the political and legislative realities of this bill, and of its context in Australian palliative care. And I think that terminally ill and disabled people should be heard when it comes to a bill that applies only to us.

In the meantime, the situation on Manus Island is getting really dire – refugees have been cut off from food, water, and electricity, and PNG immigration officials & their police commissioner have advised that they are disavowing responsibility for the safety of the refugees. They are not “illegal maritime arrivals”. They are refugees. We too came to this country by boat and without permission.

Call Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration: (07) 3205 9977
Call Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Immigration: (07) 3201 5300
Call Senator Penny Wong: (08) 8212 8272
Call Malcolm Turnbull: (02) 6277 7700
Call Julie Bishop: (02) 6277 7500
Call Bill Shorten: (02) 6277 4022
Call Tanya Plibersek: (02) 6277 4404

Don’t be hostile, let them know that you are calling about Manus Island (they are logging the number of calls), and that you support bringing the refugees here.

Love & solidarity.


The trash fire assisted suicide bill goes to the Victorian Legislative Council today. It could take up to three weeks to reach a decision. It’s going to be fucking rough. (And this right on the heels of the damn postal plebiscite – we’ve been having a right shit go of it lately.)

Recently one of my poems was a finalist in the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities’ Pen2Paper disability-focussed creative writing contest. I have reproduced the text of the poem here.

To my crip siblings, crip lovers, & crip mentors fighting for the right to live not die –
to Laura Hershey and to Stella Young –
this is for you.


To the crips I love and who love me in return
from a distance or intimately close during
long nights where neither of us can sleep for pain
waiting for morning and the pain that morning brings
I am here for you.

To the crips who have been crips for longer
than I have been on this earth and who
welcomed me with open hearts and fire
of loving purpose in ancient battle
I am here for you.

To the crips who taught me power
comes from pride and pride comes from practicing
until you are proud (and that you don’t get proud
by being shit: you get proud by practicing)
I am here for you.

To the crips who do not know that they are crips
but know only that they hurt that their bones ache
that their muscles are heavy and that their eyes sting
in sunlight after another unhelpful appointment
I am here for you.

To the crips institutionalised and imprisoned
whose first crime was living and continuing to live
abused and neglected in homes that are not homes
trapped not in their bodies but by bar and mortar
I am here for you.

To the crips who sleep overnight
in desk chairs and wheelchairs
in the offices of politicians bedecked with banners
I am here for you.

To the crips that have houses but not homes
or homes but not houses or neither home nor house
forced to live on the kindness and sideways glances
of strangers on public transport
I am here for you.

To the crips whose lands have been stolen
whose waters have been stolen
whose children have been stolen and whose lives
continue to be stolen
I am here for you.

To the crips who dislocate their hips
doing full service sex work to pay for medical bills
incurred from dislocating their hips
while doing full service sex work
I am here for you.

To the crips fighting to love each other
and to have their love recognised on equal terms
with all who are in love without penalty or price
or public stigma or getting bashed on street corners
I am here for you.

To the crips fighting to love themselves
after being unloved by those who should have loved them
or after being hurt by those who professed their love
but only when it was convenient
I am here for you.

To the crips who are drowning
in cold oceans seeking refuge or drowning
on dry land as their lungs fill with fluid
while emergency registrars do not watch
I am here for you.

To the crips who are burning
who have burnt out and from the ashes
are rising again charcoaled and brittle
and bold and battle-hardened
I am here for you.

To the crips who died
after living and loving and fighting
and then falling
to be remembered with love and fight
I am here for you.

To the crips who aren’t dead yet
living and fighting and fighting to live
and loving each other and fighting
for each other
I am here for you.

To the young crips, the old crips, the
queer crips, the trans crips, the brown crips,
the black crips, the proud crips, the tired crips,
the warrior crips, the poet crips, the dead and alive crips,
I think of you
I love and fight for you
I am here for you.


The Victorian assisted suicide legislation goes to the Legislative Council on Tuesday. It could take up to three sitting weeks to work through the legislation, perhaps up to November 30.

I am terminally ill and disabled. I am not religious. I am pro-choice. I am queer, transgender, and consider myself a feminist.

I am piss terrified at the thought of this bill coming into being.

The bill is looking more precarious than initially thought. Please, if you can, call or email your representatives and ask them not to pass this bill. Not as it is. Not when disabled activists and barristers and palliative care specialists and peak medical bodies have overwhelmingly condemned the bill for its inadequate safeguards and dangerous implications for disabled people. Not when we desperately need palliative reform and this bill is a step away from that, not towards. Not here. Not now.

Palliative drs can already enact treatments with the secondary consequence of hastening death, if that is in the patient’s wishes. The problem is in inadequate legislation around advance care directives – which the assisted suicide bill does not aid; in fact it actively circumvents them and far from empowering advance care directives will end up, if anything, compromising their ability to help patients who rely on them.

In other countries where assisted suicide is legal the drug of choice is usually Nembutal, which is still illegal for human consumption in Australia, which the Victorian bill does not change. Instead it allows for the provision of a lethal overdose of an unspecified drug which may be kept in the home for up to twelve months.

We need palliative reform first.

We need assisted living first.

As far as I know, it’s conscience votes for everyone but the Greens, who are voting with their party position in favour of the legislation. Atkinson, Bourman, Ondarchie, Purcell, Ramsay, and Young appear undecided. Davis and Finn oppose. Patten is vocally in favour.

Please don’t be hostile to the MPs, regardless of their current position, or if they are generally someone with whom your politics are not aligned. They are political representatives and they need to know the views of those they are representing.

It hurts my heart that this is happening at the same time as the postal plebiscite. Total strangers are allowed to vote on my right to marry, but I do not get to vote on my right to live.

Please make sure that whatever decision the Legislative Council makes, it is an informed one.

The contact details of all of the Upper House MPs are below. I think I’ve got their titles right; I’ve put a question mark before the couple that I’m uncertain about.



The Hon Bruce Atkinson MLC
Salutation: Dear President Atkinson
(03) 9877 7188
PO Box 508, Ringwood, VIC 3134
Member for: Eastern Metropolitan


Ms Melina Bath MLC
Salutation: Dear Ms Bath
(03) 5174 7066
PO Box 1506, Traralgon 3844
Member for: Eastern Victoria

Mr Jeffrey Bourman MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Bourman
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
(03) 5623 2999
Unit 1, 9 Napier Street, Warragul, VIC 3820
Member for: Eastern Victoria


Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins MLC
Salutation: Dear Dr Carling-Jenkins
Australian Conservatives
(03) 8742 3226
Member for: Western Metropolitan
Website: http://www.rachelmp.com.au/
E-mail address: rachel.carling-jenkins@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Shop 3, 1-13 Watton Street, Werribee, VIC 3030


Ms Georgina Crozier MLC
Salutation: Dear Shadow Minister Crozier
(03) 9555 4101
Member for: Southern Metropolitan
Position(s): Shadow Minister for Families and Children; Shadow Minister for Prevention of Family Violence; Shadow Minister for Housing
Website: http://www.georgiecrozier.com.au/
E-mail address: georgie.crozier@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: (Temporary Office), Level 2, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne 3002


The Hon Philip Dalidakis MLC
Salutation: Dear Minister Dalidakis
(03) 9557 1500
Member for: Southern Metropolitan
Position(s): Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade
Website: http://philipdalidakis.com.au/
E-mail address: philip.dalidakis@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 281 Centre Road, Bentleigh, VIC 3204


The Hon Richard Dalla-Riva MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Dalla-Riva
(03) 9803 0592
Member for: Eastern Metropolitan
Website: http://www.richarddalla-riva.com/
E-mail address: richard.dalla-riva@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Shop 10, 477 Burwood Highway, Vermont South, VIC 3133


The Hon David Davis MLC
Salutation: Dear Shadow Minister Davis
(03) 9888 6244
Member for: Southern Metropolitan
Position(s): Shadow Minister for Public Transport; Shadow Minister for Planning; Shadow Minister for Equality
Website: http://daviddavis.com.au/
E-mail address: david.davis@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: c/- Parliament House, Spring Street, East Melbourne


Ms Samantha Dunn MLC
Salutation: Dear Ms Dunn
(03) 9850 8600
Member for: Eastern Metropolitan
Position(s): Spokesperson for Local Government, Forests and Logging, Planning, Public Transport, Roads and Roads Safety
Website: http://www.samanthadunn.org/
E-mail address: samantha.dunn@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 128 Ayr Street, Doncaster, VIC 3108


Mr Khalil Eideh
Salutation: Dear Deputy President Eideh
(03) 9363 1644
Mr Khalil Eideh MLC
Member for: Western Metropolitan
Position(s): Deputy President of the Legislative Council
E-mail address: khalil.eideh@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Tenancy 2, 80 Carmody Drive, Cairnlea, VIC 3023


Mr Nazih Elasmar MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Elasmar
(03) 9456 9244
Member for: Northern Metropolitan
E-mail address: nazih.elasmar@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Shops 5 & 5a, 101 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg, VIC 3084


Mr Bernard Finn MLC
Salutation: Dear Shadow Assistant Minister Finn
(03) 9317 5911
Member for: Western Metropolitan
Position(s): Shadow Assistant Minister for Autism Spectrum Disorder; Shadow Assistant Minister for Electoral Integrity; Shadow Assistant Minister for Melbourne’s West
Website: http://berniefinn.com/
E-mail address: bernie.finn@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Suite 101, 19 Lacy Street, Braybrook, VIC 3019


Ms Margaret Fitzherbert MLC
Salutation: Dear Shadow Assistant Minister Fitzherbert
(03) 9681 9555
Member for: Southern Metropolitan
Position(s): Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader; Shadow Assistant Minister for Health
Website: http://www.margaretfitzherbert.com.au/
E-mail address: margaret.fitzherbert@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 306 Bay Street, Port Melbourne, VIC 3207


Mr Mark Gepp MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Gepp
(03) 5427 2155
Member for: Northern Victoria
Website: http://www.markgepp.com.au/
E-mail address: mark.gepp@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Tenancy 3, 80 High Street, Woodend, VIC 3442


Ms Colleen Hartland MLC
Salutation: Dear Ms Hartland
(03) 9689 6227
Member for: Western Metropolitan
Position(s): Spokesperson for Ageing, Disability, Emergency Services, Gaming, Health and Ambulance Services, Liquor Regulation, Mental Health and Veterans
Website: https://greens.org.au/vic/mps/colleen-hartland
E-mail address: colleen.hartland@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: PO Box 318, Seddon West, VIC 3011


The Hon Gavin Jennings MLC
Salutation: Dear Special Minister Jennings
(03) 9548 5634
Member for: South-Eastern Metropolitan
Position(s): Special Minister of State; Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council
E-mail address: gavin.jennings@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 517a Princes Highway, Noble Park, VIC 3174


Mr Shaun Leane MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Leane
(03) 9887 1559
Member for: Eastern Metropolitan
Position(s): Parliamentary Secretary to the Special Minister of State; Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure
Website: http://www.shaunleanemp.com.au/
E-mail address: shaun.leane@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: PO Box 4307, Knox City Centre, VIC 3152


The Hon Wendy Lovell MLC
Salutation: Dear Ms Lovell
(03) 5821 6668
Member for: Northern Victoria
Position(s): Liberal Party Whip in the Legislative Council
Website: http://wendylovell.com.au/
E-mail address: wendy.lovell@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 138 Welsford Street, Shepparton, VIC 3630


Mr Cesar Melhem MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Melhem
(03) 9689 6536
Member for: Western Metropolitan
Position(s): Government Whip
Website: http://www.cesarmelhem.com.au/
E-mail address: cesar.melhem@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 231 Hyde Street, Yarraville, VIC 3013


The Hon Jenny Mikakos MLC
Salutation: Dear Minister Mikakos
(03) 9462 3966
Member for: Northern Metropolitan
Position(s): Minister for Families and Children; Minister for Youth Affairs; Minister for Early Childhood Education
Website: http://www.jennymikakos.com.au/
E-mail address: jenny.mikakos@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 319 Spring Street, Reservoir, VIC 3073


Mr Joshua Morris MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Morris
(03) 5332 9443
Member for: Western Victoria
Website: http://www.joshuamorrismp.com.au/
E-mail address: joshua.morris@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 211 Dana Street, Ballarat, VIC 3350


Mr Daniel Mulino MLC
Salutation: Dear Secretary Mulino
(03) 5940 5010
Member for: Eastern Victoria
Position(s): Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer; Parliamentary Secretary for Finance
Website: http://www.danielmulino.com/
E-mail address: daniel.mulino@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Unit 1, 23 James Street, Pakenham, VIC 3810


The Hon Edward O’Donohue MLC
Salutation: Dear Shadow Minister O’Donohue
(03) 5941 1112
Member for: Eastern Victoria
Position(s): Shadow Minister for Police; Shadow Minister for Community Safety; Shadow Minister for Corrections
Website: http://www.edwardodonohue.com.au/
E-mail address: edward.o’donohue@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: PO Box 817, Pakenham, VIC 3810


Mr. Luke O’Sullivan MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr O’Sullivan
5443 6277
Member for: Northern Victoria
Website: https://www.facebook.com/MemberforNorthernVictoria/
E-mail address: Luke.O’Sullivan@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Unit 1, 239 Barnard St, Bendigo 3550


Mr Craig Ondarchie MLC
Salutation: Dear Shadow Minister Ondarchie
(03) 9422 0099
Member for: Northern Metropolitan
Position(s): Shadow Minister for Investment and Jobs; Shadow Minister for Trade
Website: https://vic.liberal.org.au/CraigOndarchie
E-mail address: craig.ondarchie@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 27a AXIS Centre, 797 Plenty Road, South Morang, VIC 3752


Ms Fiona Patten MLC
Salutation: Dear Ms Patten
Australian Sex Party
(03) 9386 4400
Member for: Northern Metropolitan
Website: https://fionapatten.com.au/
E-mail address: fiona.patten@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Unit 1, 747 Sydney Road, Brunswick 3056


Ms Sue Pennicuik MLC
Salutation: Dear Ms Pennicuik
(03) 9530 8399
Member for: Southern Metropolitan
Position(s): The Victorian Greens Whip; Spokesperson for Attorney-General, Creative Industries (Arts), Education, Police and Corrections, Racing, Tourism and Animals
Website: https://greens.org.au/vic/mps/sue-pennicuik
E-mail address: sue.pennicuik@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 206-208 Bay Street, Brighton, VIC 3186


Mrs Inga Peulich MLC
Salutation: Dear Shadow Minister Peulich
(03) 9772 1366
Member for: South-Eastern Metropolitan
Position(s): Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Website: http://www.ingapeulich.org/
E-mail address: inga.peulich@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 376 Nepean Highway, Chelsea, VIC 3196


The Hon Jaala Pulford MLC
Salutation: Dear Minister Pulford
(03) 5332 2405
Member for: Western Victoria
Position(s): Minister for Agriculture; Minister for Regional Development; Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council
Website: http://www.jaalapulford.com.au/
E-mail address: jaala.pulford@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Ground floor, 15 Main Road, Ballarat, VIC 3350


Mr James Purcell MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Purcell
(03) 5568 2929
Vote 1 Local Jobs
Member for: Western Victoria
Website: http://www.vote1localjobs.com.au/
E-mail address: james.purcell@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Shop 3, 32 Bank Street, Port Fairy, VIC 3284


Mr Simon Ramsay MLC
Salutation: Dear Shadow Assistant Minister Ramsay
(03) 5222 1941
Member for: Western Victoria
Position(s): Shadow Assistant Minister for Agriculture
Website: http://simonramsay.com.au/
E-mail address: simon.ramsay@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: PO Box 2273, Geelong VIC 3220


Dr Samantha Ratnam MLC
Salutation: Dear Dr Ratnam
Member for: Northern Metropolitan
Position(s): Leader of The Victorian Greens; Spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs, Agriculture, Employment and Industrial Relations, Industry and Trade, Regional Development
Website: https://greens.org.au/vic/mps/samantharatnam
E-mail address: samantha.ratnam@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Level 1, 45 William St, Melbourne, VIC 3000


The Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips MLC
Salutation: (?) Dear Deputy Leader Rich-Phillips
(03) 9794 7667
Member for: South-Eastern Metropolitan
Position(s): Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council; Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in the Legislative Council; Shadow Assistant Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Government Administration; Shadow Minister for Aviation
Website: http://www.rich-phillips.com.au/
E-mail address: gordon.rich-phillips@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Suite 1, 31 Princes Highway, Dandenong, VIC 3175


Ms Harriet Shing MLC
Salutation: Dear Secretary Shing
(03) 5134 8000
Member for: Eastern Victoria
Position(s): Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Services
Website: http://www.harrietshing.com.au/
E-mail address: harriet.shing@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Ground Floor, 216 Commercial Road, Morwell, VIC 3840


The Hon Adem Somyurek MLC
Salutation: (?) Dear Minister Somyurek
(03) 9794 0699
Member for: South Eastern Metropolitan
E-mail address: adem.somyurek@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Unit 2, 24 Langhorne Street, Dandenong, VIC 3175


Ms Nina Springle MLC
Salutation: Dear Ms Springle
(03) 9584 4013
Member for: South-Eastern Metropolitan
Position(s): Spokesperson for Families and Children, Family Violence Prevention, Multicultural Affairs, Waste and Women
Website: http://www.ninaspringle.com.au/
E-mail address: nina.springle@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Suite 1, 1174 Nepean Highway, Cheltenham, VIC 3192


Ms Jaclyn Symes MLC
Salutation: Dear Ms Symes
(03) 5783 2000
Member for: Northern Victoria
Position(s): Government Whip in the Legislative Council
Website: http://www.jaclynsymes.com.au/
E-mail address: jaclyn.symes@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: 49a High Street, Wallan, VIC 3756


Ms Gayle Tierney MLC
Salutation: Dear Minister Tierney
(03) 5224 2088
Member for: Western Victoria
Position(s): Minister for Training and Skills; Minister for Corrections
Website: http://www.gayletierney.com.au/
E-mail address: gayle.tierney@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Ground Floor, 1 Yarra Street, Geelong, VIC 3220


The Hon Mary Wooldridge MLC
Salutation: (?) Dear Minister Wooldridge
(03) 9878 4113
Member for: Eastern Metropolitan
Position(s): Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council; Leader of the Liberal Party in the Legislative Council; Shadow Minister for Health
Website: http://www.marywooldridge.com/
E-mail address: mary.wooldridge@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Suite 1, 10-12 Blackburn Road, Blackburn, VIC 3130


Mr Daniel Young MLC
Salutation: Dear Mr Young
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
(03) 5799 1331
Member for: Northern Victoria
Website: http://danielyoungmp.com.au/
E-mail address: daniel.young@parliament.vic.gov.au
Postal address: Shop 5, 30 Wallis Street, Seymour, VIC 3660


Robin gets emotional on Twitter part 2

cw assisted suicide


This week the assisted suicide (“voluntary assisted dying”) bill passed the Victorian Lower House. I haven’t stop feeling queasy since. I knew it was going to be shit but I was still somehow unprepared for how incredibly hurt & unsafe & vulnerable i am feeling in response to the overwhelming uncritically positive response of the nondisabled aussie left to the news.

This is the second twitter rant I’ve been on this week – a(nother) mate transcribed it for me for accessibility purposes & because I’m working on getting this into a less incomprehensible article format.

Turns out there might be hope yet – a couple of Upper House MPs have quite dramatically changed their minds at the last minute so the vote’s actually looking a bit precarious, though at the moment it still looks like it’ll go through. The Upper House vote is on Halloween (Oct 31). If you can contact our MPs please do so. Disabled voices are not being heard on this and at the very least whatever vote they make should be an informed one.

Thread is here, full text is below


  1. Pro-assisted suicide folks, these are yr comrades. This in reply to disclosure of terminal illness & suicidality. Are you uncomfortable yet?
    1. @songheart@Songheart
    2. Replying to @robinmarceline @mirandadevine
    3. Fuck off and get over it. Reality is a democracy is for all the people, not just a few whingers. You were outvoted move on.
  2. If you are creating laws that are in theory supposed to enshrine the autonomy & dignity of terminally ill people – LISTEN TO US.
  3. And if in response to your laws we say we do not feel our autonomy/dignity are being preserved – don’t tell us to “fuck off & get over it”
  4. The Victorian law is a law that applies solely to terminally ill & disabled people, created by & voted on solely by abled people.
  5. I am terminally ill. I am degeneratively disabled. I struggle with suicidality every damn day. & I am telling you the law is dangerous.
  6. Some terminally ill & disabled people who are suicidal might disagree bc they feel justified in their suicidality.
  7. Sorry, but every suicidal person feels justified in their suicidality. That’s how suicidal ideation works.
  8. It’s deeply ableist to claim yr suicidality as a terminally ill/physically disabled person is more “sane”/”rational” than a depressed person
  9. Your (our) suffering is not more profound than a depressed person’s. A depressed person’s suffering is not by nature temporary or less dire
  10. If you are terminally ill &/or degeneratively disabled but not suicidal & you agree with the bill – why? interrogate yr subject position
  11. If you are terminally ill &/or degeneratively disabled but not suicidal but think u may become suicidal in the future – that is hypothetical
  12. You can’t speak on behalf of yr hypothetical future self whose life, pain, function, ability are different to your own
  13. *Anyone* can become disabled but that doesnt give you the right to speak on behalf of ppl who are disabled & marginalised NOW
  14. So much of the ethics of assisted suicide is about enshrining the right to opt out of a disabled life *that you have not yet experienced*
  15. What do you think that says to those of us who are currently living that life?
  16. What gives you the right to speak on our behalf? We are capable of speaking for ourselves
  17. If you are not a person who the bill CURRENTLY applies to, you really need to question yr assumptions about yr stance & what informs it
  18. So many anecdotes about “my aunt/grandmother/sibling died in pain or is dying” – no. Yr aunt/grandmother/sibling can speak on this. Not you
  19. It is legitimate & admirable to want to aid suffering & marginalisation that you have been a witness to. But you cant determine what we need
  20. You can’t determine what is best for us or how best to help us without consulting us. You can’t determine how to help us in our absence
  21. That the Victorian bill is overwhelmingly criticised & protested by both the people it applies to & the experts in the field speaks volumes
  22. Sources, since so many ppl questioned my right to speak with my community
    1. https://www.spectator.com.au/2017/08/a-message-to-victorians-on-euthanasia/
  23. The disabled opposition to assisted suicide legislation is not a minority view nor is it limited solely to Australia
    1. http://notdeadyet.org/disability-groups-opposed-to-assisted-suicide-laws
  24. Nor is it recent.
    1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/18/disability-euthanasia-assisted-dying
  25. If our opposition is new to you – be terrified by that. It means you have been ignoring us this entire time.
  26. Palliative care drs overwhelmingly oppose assisted suicide. There are exceptions, usually individual.
    1. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-05/doctors-warn-against-euthanasia-move/8091718
  27. This too is international. Including in areas where it is legal
    1. https://www.physiciansforlife.ca/resources/all-resources/euthanasia-assisted-suicide-palliative-end-of-life-care/ …
  28. If you think that opposition to assisted suicide is the realm of Christians & anti-choice zealots only you are wrong
    1. https://www.doctorportal.com.au/mjainsight/2017/10/palliative-care-euthanasia-and-physician-assisted-suicide/ …
  29. For the record, I oppose any form of assisted suicide that applies only to disabled people, with Australia’s current healthcare situation
  30. I reiterate again that I am not opposed to suicide itself. I have attempted it in the past, many times. It would be hypocritical of me.
  31. But suicide is already legal. And easy. Terribly, terribly easy. There are many swift and painless ways to die. I avoid them every day
  32. The Victorian law is not about ending the suffering of terminally ill & disabled people. It is about ending terminally ill & disabled people
  33. If you want to end our suffering – legislate for better palliative care. We need it, desperately. We need palliative reform with or w/out AS
  34. If you want to end our suffering – legislate for free, accessible healthcare. Legislate for our right to access pain medication. It is hard!
  35. There is a huge amount of stigma around “drugseekers” and it is actually incredibly difficult to get adequate pain meds
  36. My joints dislocate spontaneously every day & you know what the pain management protocol is? Start with Panadol
  37. Panadol/paracetamol and other NSAIDs in the same class, by the way, don’t even work on me. No effect. Same w many who have my condition
  38. Next tier – anti-inflammatories that aren’t in themselves analgesics. Then medications like panadeine forte w small amount of codeine
  39. Again, does nothing for me & many others with EDS. But I had to prove this by working my way up, by being a “good” patient.
  40. Then neuropathic analgesics like pregabalin and gabapentin. Pregabalin (aka Lyrica) FUCKED ME UP. Withdrawal was HELL
  41. Many drs don’t even know that pregabalin is highly addictive & withdrawal is vile. It isnt considered of risk bc theres no recreational use
  42. And again, it did nothing for me – my pain is not neuropathic, it is from lax connective tissue & frequent dislocations.
  43. Pregabalin frequently induces psychosis that can lead to permanent neurological changes. It makes u feel like a zombie. It’s so rough
  44. It works really well for maybe 50% of people with conditions like fibromyalgia, but it doesnt even work for everyone w neuropathic pain
  45. There was no reason to think it would have helped me. I have narcolepsy & it causes drowsiness & dizziness, should have been contraindicated
  46. But as a “chronic non-cancer patient” (this is the terminology used) I had to follow a particular pathway. It was that or nothing.
  47. Btw: “Let me assure you that many EDS patients have pain far beyond any cancer patient I’ve ever seen.” Dr Forest Tennant, pain specialist
  48. This is not to invalidate cancer pain. But cancer is not the only condition that causes pain. & different cancers cause diff amounts of pain
  49. I have known many ppl with EDS who also have or have had cancer & honestly cancer is a lot more treatable. There are no Aus EDS specialists
  50. Cancer has a social legitimacy that EDS does not, is recognisable in a way EDS & many other chronic, degenerative, terminal conditions r not
  51. (Most types of EDS are not terminal btw – I am terminal due to a combination of vascular EDS & comorbid conditions incl aortic aneurysm)
  52. Regardless, my terminal, severe pain does not qualify me for the same treatment pathways as cancer. So paracetamol thru to pregabalin —
  53. — & after that tramadol. Tramadol is a low level opiate (which codeine also technically is) & makes me nauseous/dizzy, does little for pain
  54. After that we r in the realm of the “opioid crisis”. Of “opiate addicted chronic pain patients”. We r told yoga, TENS, massage, acupuncture
  55. Even when we are terminal. Even when our pain is severe. Suicidally severe.
  56. Some people are able to access morphine drips etc. I have adverse reactions to morphine. Cortisone injections contraindicated
  57. My rheumatologist suggested fentanyl patches. I was hesitant bc I had recently had an episode of respiratory arrest, cause as yet unknown
  58. (Turns out it was bc my unstable first rib had been compressing my trachea & my carotid artery. Happens often, sometimes lungs deflate)
  59. (I have been prescribed oxygen by my respiratory specialist but guess what – I can’t afford it. It’s nearly $100/month)
  60. (let me remind you here that I have been rejected from the DSP 5 times in 3 yrs including an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal)
  61. (I am on Newstart w jobseeking requirements waived due to disability. $1165.60 per month, $973/month if I have a partner)
  62. (not insignificant, but not enough considering I have had a single day’s worth of CTs & ultrasounds rack up $1500. MRIs usually around $300)
  63. Anyway my hesitancy wrt a fentanyl prescription led my rheum to somehow conclude it had been advised against by my psychiatrist (it hadnt)
  64. So that’s no longer an option even though I now know the resp arrest wasnt due to anything that could cause risk w fentanyl.
  65. Asked my psychiatrist to clarify that he hadn’t advised against it – he told me to come in for an appointment. They’re $360-$560 each, 45min
  66. Not an option, not worth it for a prescription I’m conflicted about anyway. But this leaves me with nothing. No pain control. None at all.
  67. Heat packs help. Diazepam as a muscle relaxant also helps but is controlled & difficult to get prescriptions for. I’ve had 35mg this yr
  68. Medical marijuana has been shown 2 help enormously in many EDS patients & has been given my neurosurgeon’s blessing, but isnt dispensed here
  69. Federally legal, legal to be prescribed, legal to be grown for own use, but not being legally dispensed. Unhelpful.
  70. So I struggle by with heat packs and bath salts while my spine dislocates, while cerebrospinal fluid is leaking out of my ears & nose
  71. Medical knowledge of EDS is scarce but studies generally conclude death from vEDS is most common in teens & 20s. I am 24
  72. My congenitally deformed & dilated heart would have maybe 5-10 yrs left in it if I was very lucky & did not have vEDS. As it is, ???
  73. (vEDS causes spontaneous arterial & organ rupture. Not ideal for an aortic aneurysm. Have already had eardrum & uterine ruptures)
  74. I don’t know how long I have left but I know I would have longer if there were home visit dr programs in my area, if i had pain meds,
  75. if my council’s meals on wheels program could cater to allergy requirements, if there were EDS specialists in my country let alone city,
  76. if I could access any of the 4 closest train stations to my home, if my physiotherapy & neuro & rheum appointments weren’t so expensive
  77. This is the medical system we have now. This is the world you want to bring assisted suicide legislation into.
  78. Maybe future healthcare reform will happen. I hope so. Will I be around to see it? I don’t know. But the AS laws are passing NOW
  79. And I am afraid. I know that I am going to die spontaneously and unpredictably. Likely either my heart or my bowel will rupture.
  80. It will hurt. It will be messy. I do not want my loved ones to find my body. I dont want it to happen in a lecture & traumatise 300 other ppl
  81. Does assisted suicide legislation sound tempting after all that? Yes. God, yes. That’s what makes it so scary.
  82. “A person who is otherwise eligible (due to another disease, illness or medical condition)but who also has a mental illness or a disability
  83. — is not excluded only because they have the mental illness or disability.”
  84. 2 GP appointments. 10 days. I qualify under the law. It would be so easy.
  85. But I could live. Maybe not for long. Maybe not at all. But there is a chance. Disabled people considered terminal sometimes live for decades
  86. I could be happy. I could publish more poems. I could finish my Honours thesis. I could undertake a PhD, maybe even finish one.
  87. I could find love again. For seven months out of this year I was engaged and I was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.
  88. I’m crying as I write this haha. Pls dont think that I am any braver or more resilient than you. I’m a fucking mess
  89. But I could live. There is a chance that I could live and love. But w/out pain medication? W/out physiotherapy? W/out accessible environs?
  90. & When assisted suicide is legal an hour’s flight & ten days away? When I am grieving a marriage that never happened & might never be legal?
  91. I am going to try. But please, please understand how fucking difficult it is to do so. It is so easy to die & so hard to live
  92. You don’t have to oppose assisted suicide. But please at least let us decide for ourselves what is best for our lives. Not on our behalfs.
  93. Please at least fight as hard for healthcare reform as you fight for assisted suicide. Please at least fight for a *less bad* AS bill
  94. And when assisted suicide comes to NSW in a couple of months – Do not make the same mistakes. And maybe don’t let me go to my GP alone.