Aussie PM tells mum of autistic boy he's 'blessed' because his kids don't have disabilities
Scott Morrison does it again!
Australia's prime minister has continued his stellar run of offending people - this time with a comment about the "blessing" of not having children born with disabilities.
Scott Morrison was taking part in the first leader's debate against Labor's Anthony Albanese on Wednesday when the pair were asked about the future of the country's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) by an undecided voter.
The woman, identified only as Catherine, began her question by saying she had a four-year-old son who lives with autism and saying that she is "grateful" to receive NDIS funds.
She continued: "I've been told, to give my son the best future, I need to vote Labor. Can you please tell me what the future of the NDIS looks like under your government?"
This is the moment Scott Morrison told a mother of a son with autism that he and Jen were “blessed” because he doesn’t have a child with disabilities. Harmful ignorance. pic.twitter.com/L2Wzj8S96C
— Matt Burke (@matttburke) April 20, 2022
The PM began his response with a personal approach, asking Catherine what her son's name was, to which she replied, Ethan.
He then made what appeared to be an unintentional blunder which disability advocates, the opposition, social media users, and media the world over, have skewered him for.
Morrison said: "Jenny and I have been blessed, we've got two children that don't — that haven't had to go through that.
"And so, for parents with children who are disabled, I can only try and understand your aspirations for those children.
"And then I think that is the beauty of the National Disability Insurance Scheme."
The "blessed" line, irked many.
Oh my God… Morrison just told a woman asking about her son with autism he and his wife have been “blessed” because their kids don’t have disabilities. I cannot believe he said that.
— Stephen Spencer (@sspencer_63) April 20, 2022
Blessed, huh ? What a cruel, vile thing to say.
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) April 20, 2022
Still thinking about Scott Morrison saying he's been 'blessed' not having a child with disability. Every child is a blessing, and deserves to be a valued and supported member of our community. Morrison doesn't get it and that's why the #ndis isn't working #LeadersDebate #ausvotes
— Kate Thwaites (@ThwaitesKate) April 20, 2022
It hurts my heart, and fills me with no small measure of rage, to see so many amazing disabled people and their parents work so hard to advocate and educate, only to have a PM with privilege and a huge public platform publicly say he's 'blessed' to have kids without disabilities.
— Tara Moss (@Tara_Moss) April 20, 2022
Autism blesses those of us who have it with the ability to spot fakes from a mile off pic.twitter.com/Ck41YcqAAq
— Grace Tame (@TamePunk) April 20, 2022
ScoMo says he is “blessed” to have two non disabled children. Every child is a blessing. The NDIS is there to help people with disability live their lives to the fullest. The Morrison Gov has slashed NDIS plans for 1000s of children around Australia. Labor will fix the NDIS.
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) April 20, 2022
Labor senator Katy Gallagher told Channel Seven that, as the parent of a daughter with autism, Morrison's comment upset her, saying: "I found it really offending and quite shocking, and it is something that people who have a disability, children with autism, it is a kind of response they get all the time."
She continued: "That people are blessed not to have what they have when, in actual fact, every child is a blessing. "Certainly my daughter enriches my life and my partner's life every day."
Morrison, according to a report by ABC News, has since apologised.
"I accept that it has caused offence to people," he said, adding: "I think people would also appreciate that I would have had no such intention of suggesting anything other than [that] every child is a blessing."
Morrison said he was trying to convey that he did not have a first-hand understanding of the challenges people who have children with disability faced: "I was seeking to respect the challenges they face, not the opposite."
He also added that he had apologised directly to Australian of the Year - tennis star and Paralympian - Dylan Alcott, who had earlier criticised him.
Woke up this morning feeling very blessed to be disabled - I reckon my parents are pretty happy about it too.
Feeling sorry for us and our families doesn’t help. Treating us equally, and giving us the choice and control over our own lives does
— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) April 20, 2022
Amongst the criticism of Morrison, it was also noted that both he and Albanese had later been pictured speaking to Catherine and asking her about her experience dealing with NDIS at the leader's debate.
— VibbleVobble (@VVoble) April 20, 2022
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