Kelly Vincent – 5AA Interview on Dignity for Disability’s Decision Not to Use Corflute’s

Kelly Vincent, Dignity for Disabilty MLC (5AA 10.08-10.18) Dignity for Disability’s decision not to use corflute stobie pole advertising during the 2014 state election

Cordeaux: Dignity for Disability MLC is Kelly Vincent. Now they have decided that they are going to have an election which is corflute free for the 2014 campaign. And I thought ‘well that’s interesting; the only problem is, what in heaven’s name is a corflute?’ How are you?

Kelly Vincent: I’m well.

Cordeaux: Now maybe I’m just really dumb but are you talking about the posters they stick on the Stobie poles?

Kelly Vincent: Yes; the bigger sort of cardboard-y ones.

Cordeaux: Ah well you’ll save a bit of money having this particular policy won’t you?

Kelly Vincent: We certainly will but we’re also looking to not annoy people because I think everyone’s pretty aware corflutes are pretty unpopular and sometimes just being graffiti-ed so we’re keen to avoid putting our mugs everywhere for nobody’s sake but our own.

Cordeaux: Well as a politician do you believe that they have any effect or benefit?

Kelly Vincent: At the end of the day I think corflutes are probably more about trying to get the attention of some possibly undecided voters than actually serving any real purpose, and so I think the better way to get your face up there is to get yourself up there, consult with people, meet with people and discuss issues that are important to the electorate.

Cordeaux: Well it could just be that some parties have got a lot more money than they have energy to go out and do the personal pressing of the flesh so what they do is to take whatever visual shortcut they can.

Kelly Vincent: Look I think you’re right about that and I think at the end of the day corflutes are very expensive … some of the major parties use them a lot more. We prefer to use our very modest campaign budget to actually discuss issues with the electorate and make sure that when people go to the polls on voting day they know whose policies they are voting for, not just whose face.

Cordeaux: Well you’ve got to get out there and make use of the electronic media and every interview opportunity there is I suppose. So you’re heading up for what is going to be a very hectic couple of months of the New Year.

Kelly Vincent: Indeed, we have some very exciting candidate we’re putting forward, in particular our lead candidate Esther Simbi who is an amazing woman, originally from Sudan and spent some time in refugee camps in Uganda. She lives with post polio syndrome and now works as a social worker in South Australia so she’s a very wise, educated and very passionate woman.

Cordeaux: How long have you been in the Upper House now?

Kelly Vincent: Coming up to four years, would you believe it?

Cordeaux: So you go back next year for another cycle and is that four years or eight years?

Kelly Vincent: Four years, eight year terms in the Upper House so I have another four.

Cordeaux: Okay, when you say you have another four, are you standing for election at the next state election or you’ve automatically done four and you get four more automatically?

Kelly Vincent: I’m not up for re election personally and I have four years left of my term.

Cordeaux: Now how has it been for you for the first four years? You’re looking down the barrel of another four years are you happy about that?

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely, I still feel very privileged to be in the position that I’m in, it’s a great honour to serve people of the state and of a particular community, being the disability community, very passionate about that and very proud of the work we’ve done thus far and I look forward to continuing that work for at least another four years and hopefully with a team mate beside me so that we can further expand this important work.

Cordeaux: I don’t know whether yours is a party or not but when you brought this subject up what did they say? Are they in agreement with you? Is yours a party by the way?

Kelly Vincent: Yes, absolutely a registered political party.

Cordeaux: Okay so you’re going to have other people standing at the election.

Kelly Vincent: Yes.

Cordeaux: How many?

Kelly Vincent: Seven Lower House and three Upper House.

Cordeaux: Wow, so you’ve got ambitions for the party and when you brought this subject up about not having the posters on the Stobie poles what did they say?

Kelly Vincent: Obviously we have to have a majority agreement in the party of ideas that we’re going to put forward and I think this is an easy choice; I think corflutes are incredibly expensive, they’re a waste of hard-earned campaign resources also an environmental disaster and are unwanted by many people in the electorate and the fact is we still have in spots around town posters up from the federal election, so they’re a complete waste and they’re unwanted on our landscape.

Cordeaux: And you’ve got agreement on that subject?

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely, I have been very pleased with the amount of positive feedback that was received from the community on this idea as well.

Cordeaux: Because apart from the expense of it all you’ve got to have volunteers to go around and stick the damn things up there.

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely and not only is it dangerous for a lot of people to put them up there, it’s also very difficult for a lot of people with disabilities who are some of our volunteers, to do. So I think we’ve ticked all the right boxes here. And we challenge the parties to follow in our footsteps.

Cordeaux: Well what do you want to achieve for the next four years Kelly?

Kelly Vincent Oh my goodness; there’s lots, I want people with disabilities to have adequate support to get back into the workforce or indeed into the work force for the first time You may have heard there’s been a lot of discussion in the last few days about reform for the disability pension, so we’ve got to be mindful about that because those who genuinely need the pension continue to receive it and those who might not continue to receive it get the support they need to actually enter the workforce because it’s no good cutting someone off from the only source of income if they’re not supported into the work force. I want people who use assistance animals to have their rights [unclear] properly so they can take that assistance animal with them to private rental properties, using their reliance on government-funded housing. And I also want people who are back in hospital beds and rehab centre beds currently without need after being declared fit for discharge, to get the support they need from disability services to return to their own homes because there are far too many people in state currently Jeremy, who are declared fit for discharge from hospital and yet they remain there for sometimes up to a year after they’ve declared fit to go home, because their health and disability departments can’t sit down and talk to each other heaven forbid, about getting the support this person needs to return home because it’s all about meeting their own individual department’s KPIs and budget.

Cordeaux: So there’s lots to do. now tell me Kelly which of the two parties and which of the two leaders would you rather be working with?

Kelly Vincent: It’s my job as a minor party member to work with the Government of the Day, whoever that may be, to achieve better outcomes and of course especially people with disabilities and so it’s not for me to really choose that, it’s for the people of South Australia.

Cordeaux: So you can work quite happily with both leaders and both parties?

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely; that’s the job and I hope the examples I’ve just given you indicate that I’m not about –

Cordeaux: That’s diplomatic.

Kelly Vincent: Well I think you’ve gotta be; it’s not about whose name goes where and whose face gets up the most, it’s about working constructively to achieve better outcomes for the people of South Australia.

Cordeaux: What were you doing before you became a member of parliament?

Kelly Vincent: I am a playwright and I worked with a couple of local theatre companies, a company called No Strings Attached of which I’m now patron. A writing and performing with them.

Cordeaux: Okay, well let us know if you get something up on the stage or the screen, we’d love to plug it for you.

Kelly Vincent: I’d love to find the time to work on that for the moment I’m very dedicated to my job.

Cordeaux: I know, go back over all your old stuff.

Kelly Vincent: Yes; you’ll be the first to know.

Cordeaux: Have a lovely Christmas.

Kelly Vincent: You too; you and your listeners have a great Christmas and I look forward to talking with you very soon.