The headlines said it all.
Back to work: Disability support pension on the scrapheap, screamed Melbourne’s Herald Sun. Beating the bludgers will help the disabled was the lead on The Sunday Telegraph.
The mothballing of the ABC’s Ramp Up website, announced earlier this month, could not have come at a worse time for people with disability.
Too often, media representation of people with disability is embedded within familiar models of “tragedy” and “hero” – but the weekend’s coverage of potential changes to the disability support pension and the welfare system paint an equally distorted and harmful image.
The news media has the capacity to frame an issue, a story, and an angle. It has the power to present people with disability as “bludgers” and declare they should “get back to work”. It also has the capacity to set the agenda by deciding whether to provide favourable or unfavourable commentary.