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Sun, 01 Oct


Newtown Neighbourhood Centre

Lifeboat: Quarterly Essay #91 Launch with Micheline Lee

Join us with Micheline Lee to celebrate the release of Lifeboat: Disability, Humanity and the NDIS; Quarterly Essay 91. Micheline will be in conversation with Cassandra Goldie and Rick Morton.

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Lifeboat: Quarterly Essay #91 Launch with Micheline Lee
Lifeboat: Quarterly Essay #91 Launch with Micheline Lee

Time & Location

01 Oct 2023, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, 11/13 Darley St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia


About The Event

Gadigal Hall - The venue is single level and is fully accessible with ramps and accessible toilet.

For any venue accessibility questions, please contact the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre or email us at

What ails the NDIS?

Caring or careless? In this powerful and moving essay, Micheline Lee tells the story of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, a transformative social change that ran into problems. For some users it has been "the only lifeboat in the ocean," but for others it has meant still more exclusion.

Lee explains what happened, showing that the NDIS, for all its good intentions, has not understood people with disabilities well enough. While government thought the market could do its job, a caring society cannot be outsourced. Lee draws deeply on her own experience, on diverse case studies, 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.""How people understand disability transforms how they respond to it. When they saw us as cursed or contaminated, they banished us, euthanised us or left us on the streets to perish. When they saw us as requiring protection, they institutionalised us. When they saw us as defective and in need of a cure, we were hospitalised and medicalised. When they saw us as tragic, they treated us as objects of charity. Now the NDIS has given us a new identity: consumer." Micheline Lee, Lifeboat

Micheline Lee’s novel, The Healing Party, was shortlisted for several awards including the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Born in Malaysia, she migrated to Australia when she was eight. Micheline has lived with a motor neurone disability from birth. She is also a former human rights lawyer and painter. Her Quarterly Essay is on humanity, disability and the NDIS.

Cassandra Goldie has been CEO of Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) since July 2010. With public policy expertise in economic and social issues, civil society, social justice and human rights, she has represented the interests of people who are disadvantaged and civil society in major national and international processes as well as in grassroots communities. Cassandra has a PhD from UNSW and a Masters of Law from University College London. 

Rick Morton is an award-winning journalist and author of three non-fiction books.  My Year Of Living Vulnerably  documents the rediscovery of love after a Complex PTSD diagnosis. His debut memoir,  One Hundred Years of Dirt, became a national bestseller and was a finalist in multiple awards. He is also the author of  On Money. Rick is  a senior reporter at  The Saturday Paper  where he covers social policy, national affairs and science. His most recent book, Growing Up In Country Australia, was published in 2022.


  • Event Ticket

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  • Event + Book

    Includes a discounted ticket + copy of Quarterly Essay #91

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