Spectrum Labor

We are different, not less

Autistic Lives Matter — June 5, 2020

Autistic Lives Matter

Just two days after the events in Queensland as Spectrum Labor reported recently, another hateful act was committed. Whilst this act was not committed in Australia it is nevertheless a reflection on the fear and hate of the Autistic spectrum and how it can combine with other established lines of hate.

Spectrum Labor co-founder Helen Said says she is devastated on hearing of the shooting death of 32 year old Palestinian Autistic Iyad Halaq on Saturday May 30. According to news reports, Mr Halaq had intellectual disability and communication issues. He was shot twice by Israeli police while on his way to a special needs school.

Ms Said, whose family fled Egypt during the Suez Canal Crisis, is the author of Five Egyptian Pounds and is one of few advocates in Australia for Autistics from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds.

“Worryingly, Autistics from minority backgrounds are often judged to be suspicious, simply because of their racial, social and intellectual differences. This often leads to harassment, abuse, violence and, in this case, cold blooded murder,” she said.

“Spectrum Labor mourns the death of Iyad Halaq and calls for justice for all people with disability who are murdered by those who are supposed to be keeping them safe. Black Lives Matter and Autistic Lives Matter,” she added.

Spectrum Labor however does caution those planning to attend Black Lives Matter protests tomorrow (June 6) alongside the country’s leaders and health officers and asks that everyone engage online until the COVID-19 crisis is over.

“Jail time for Child Safety Officers” – Autism advocates — June 1, 2020

“Jail time for Child Safety Officers” – Autism advocates

An Autism rights group is calling for the jailing of Brisbane child safety officers who failed to investigate and intervene in the systematic abuse of two Autistic teenage boys in Brisbane. The boys, aged 17 and 19, were found naked and malnourished, living in squalid conditions, when police arrived at their home earlier this week following their father’s death.

Spectrum Labor co-founder Philip Gluyas has labelled the treatment of the boys as “violent, life threatening, domestic abuse.”

It is horrifying, but sadly unsurprising, that neighbours have been reporting the abuse and neglect of these Autistic teenagers to authorities for years, even filming the abuse, and the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women failed to act. This is symptomatic of the devaluing and demonising of Autistics which Spectrum Labor has pledged to overturn,” he said.

These boys were deprived and tortured in the one place that should have been the safest – their family home – at the hands of their own father, and the Department which was put in place to keep them safe turned its back on them.

This scandalous neglect, along with the recent deaths of NDIS client Anne Marie Smith and four year old Willow Dunn, both of whom were also severely neglected and malnourished in their own homes, demonstrate that nothing less than jail sentences are needed to protect people with disability from horrific and degrading treatment.”

Spectrum Labor promoted a petition calling for the prohibition of hate speech against the Autistic community, which was tabled in federal Parliament on April 8, 2020 – a petition that Mr Gluyas was the principal petitioner for.

The conduct that these incidents revealed originates from the same hateful thought patterns that produces hate speech,” Mr Gluyas claimed. “This has to stop.”

Autistic Labor Members launch “Hate Speech” petition — February 7, 2020

Autistic Labor Members launch “Hate Speech” petition

Not well, deeply disturbed, maniacal, mentally ill, mentally unstable…..

These are just some of the insults and misrepresentations that people on the Autism Spectrum read in newspapers and on social media on an almost daily basis. A new group, Spectrum Labor, aims to change the talk on Autism with an online petition which they hope will inspire a federal Human Rights Inquiry into “fear based hate and contempt” towards Autistics.

Spectrum Labor co-founder and Autism blogger Philip Gluyas has been battling vilifications and misrepresentations of Autism for decades. His efforts have captured the attention of anti-Autistic trolls and conspiracy theorists, one of whom accused him of being “the next Adam Lanza” (referring to the mass murderer who shot 20 children and six staff in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the US).

Gluyas has taken them to court and won. Now he is determined to take these issues to the federal government and stop anti-Autistic put-downs once and for all. Gluyas, along with other Autistic Labor Party members, has launched an online petition against what Spectrum Labor considers to be “hate speech” against the Autistic minority.

“Autism is a natural way of being,” according to Gluyas. “It is no different to being of dark skin, preferring the non-platonic company of one’s own gender, or even just either male or female. And those who do not understand Autism, and treat it as something to hate or fear, are in fact doing more damage than they realise. As Yoda once said in Star Wars, The Phantom Menace; ‘Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.’ The Autistic community is suffering, and that suffering needs to stop.”

Spectrum Labor has also made submissions to the Victorian government’s Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections, the federal government’s Autism Inquiry and the Religious Discrimination Bills consultation process.

Spectrum Labor believes that the passage of the federal government’s Religious Discrimination Bills would further encourage people like Indian Catholic priest Dominic Valanmanal, who compares Autistic children to “animals” and blames Autism on parents’ “adultery, masturbation, homosexuality” and “porn” (ABC News July 18, 2019). Valanmanal was due to visit Australia last September, to run a $400 retreat on Phillip Island, but thanks to the efforts of Binoy Zacharias, a member of Melbourne’s Indian Catholic community who has an Autistic teenage son, the visit was cancelled.

Another group Spectrum Labor is targeting is the anti-vaccine community. Antivaxxers hysterically insist, in the face of mountains of scientific proof to the contrary, that vaccines cause Autism. This claim ignores the genetic basis of Autism and has a base in fear creating anger – aimed at the pro-vaccine scientific community as well as Autism. The recent re-emergence of measles is a health threat to the whole community. Gluyas has been fighting these people directly but is aware that a wider approach is needed.

Spectrum Labor’s petition can be found at the Parliamentary website, and is linked on our petition page here on this website. It is only open until March 4, 2020.

Religious Discrimination Bill will hurt Autistics — December 16, 2019

Religious Discrimination Bill will hurt Autistics

A group of Autistic Labor Party members claim that the government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill will legitimise the denigration of people on the Autism Spectrum and their parents.

According to Spectrum Labor co-founder Philip Gluyas, “If your child has a diagnosis on the Autistic spectrum, this new law would allow religious workmates, bosses or doctors to tell you that your child’s Autism is a sin.

“It’s bad enough that people who do not understand what Autism truly is have over the decades treated Autism as a pathology, most recently by the anti vaccine community, as well as a burden, not genetic in origin and DNA damage. This Religious Discrimination Bill is going to legitimise a whole new level of anti-Autism bigotry that may well borrow from the depths of contempt of centuries ago.

“The Victorian Autism Plan states that Autistic people are more likely to be trans or gender diverse than the general population, and we fear for the welfare of these vulnerable individuals. Autistics within the LGBTI Spectrum could legally be told that they are sinners. They could be denied jobs and services by church run schools, hospitals and charities.”

Gluyas states that Spectrum Labor has a petition that will be re-launched at the end of January as an online petition, seeking to prohibit hate speech against the Autistic spectrum. He added “This petition goes directly against the aims of this horrific piece of legislation and we will be seeking everyone’s support for it.”

Spectrum Labor co-founder Helen Said expressed concern about how the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill would impact on Autistic women.

“We know that women with disability experience a much higher incidence of sexual assault, but medical staff will have the right to deny these women access to the morning after pill or abortion if it clashes with their own religious views.

“Women in committed relationships who choose to live alone because of their own or their partner’s Autism could be labelled as immoral and legally denied employment or services by church-run organisations, denied access to contraception because of the religious views of the service provider.

“Many Autistic women dress for comfort rather than fashion because of sensory and social differences but, under this legislation, they could legally be pressured to dress in a stereotypically feminine manner by religious workplaces or schools.

“Religious worshippers would also have the right to tell a mother that her child’s Autism is a punishment for her past sins.”

Spectrum Labor is urging all people on the Autism Spectrum and their supporters to vigorously oppose the Religious Discrimination Bill and to make their views known to their federal Member of Parliament. When the petition is online in late January Spectrum Labor also urges everyone to sign it.

Spectrum Labor congratulates Greta Thunberg — December 13, 2019

Spectrum Labor congratulates Greta Thunberg

On December 11, 2019, climate change activist and proud Autistic Greta Thunberg was revealed as Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”. Greta is the youngest ever recipient of this honour and it is thoroughly deserved.

Greta responded on Twitter with her usual unselfishness, sharing the honour with everyone else who has participated in the youth movement she started with the hashtag #FridaysforFuture.

In the media no mention was made of the fact that Greta is Autistic. She has made no secret of this, even in the face of the abuse she has been in receipt of by climate change skeptics. She has been quoted as calling Autism her “superpower”. Spectrum Labor co-founder Philip Gluyas said, “Greta has adjusted to her Autistic status about as perfectly as I have ever seen one do it. She is using her strengths to the maximum advantage and learning to filter out the garbage and know the difference between right and wrong – an underestimated strength of someone on the Autistic spectrum. Time Magazine has recognised her strengths and her influence and I couldn’t be happier for her.”

Greta has led a worldwide youth movement on climate change, making clear their concern for the future of Planet Earth. These are concerns that world leaders should be paying attention to, especially as these young people are the world’s future. Spectrum Labor calls on world leaders to pay heed to the message and take climate change more seriously.

Autistic tutor offers Christian principal a lesson on climate change — October 2, 2019

Autistic tutor offers Christian principal a lesson on climate change

An Autistic tutor from Melbourne has offered the principal of Coffs Harbour Christian Community School, Rodney Lynn, a free lesson in Climate Science.

Mr Lynn made headlines last week when he issued a school newsletter describing Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager at the helm of the Climate Strike movement, as “a little girl with … mental problems” who promotes “doomsday waffle talk”.

“I would be happy to fly up to Coffs Harbour and speak to Mr Lynn in person, as he clearly needs to reappraise his views on both Autism and Climate Science,” commented Helen Said, who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and was diagnosed with Aspergers in midlife.

“However, as an environmentalist, I would prefer to teach Mr Lynn through video call rather than contributing to greenhouse gas emissions through air travel. I think Mr Lynn, as a Christian, needs more awareness of humanity’s impact on our Earth. Certainly, as the head of a school, he should adopt a more contemporary outlook on the Autism Spectrum.

“Mr Lynn is going to see my email on his desk first thing on Monday morning when school resumes,” Ms Said continued. “I hope he contacts me so that we can have a conversation about this.”

Ms Said was elected to Labor’s National Policy Forum in 2017 and has since co-founded the group Spectrum Labor along with fellow ALP member Philip Gluyas. Gluyas has been particularly vocal in lobbying for Autism acceptance and in debunking the theory that Autism is caused by vaccines. He runs his own website, Phil’s World, and promotes the idea that Autism is a different way of being. Gluyas has initiated Spectrum Labor’s petition to the federal government, calling for a Human Rights Commission inquiry into “anti-Autistic hate speech”.

“Autism makes us stronger,” say Labor activists — August 4, 2019

“Autism makes us stronger,” say Labor activists

A group of ALP members on the Autism Spectrum have lashed out at Andrew Bolt’s criticisms of teenage climate strike leader Greta Thunberg. Spectrum Labor claims that Greta Thunberg is a strong voice for the environment, not despite her Autism, but because of it.

Spectrum Labor co-founders Helen Said and Philip Gluyas are adamant that their Autism makes them more aware of current issues and more determined to right social and environmental wrongs.

“Obviously not everyone on the Autism Spectrum is an activist,” explained Helen Said, who is also a member of Labor’s National Policy Forum, “but many people on the spectrum have an innate understanding of science and don’t fear the social consequences of speaking out for reason and justice. As a Science graduate, I have been talking about global warming since 1978. I have been shopping secondhand and recycling for decades, even when very few people understood the issues.”

Helen contributed substantially to Labor’s National Platform amendments on disability rights and closing the gender superannuation gap and claims her autism makes her more determined and more original in her thinking.

Spectrum Labor co-founder Philip Gluyas has been particularly vocal in lobbying for Autism acceptance and in debunking the theory that Autism is caused by vaccines. He runs his own website, Phil’s World, and promotes the idea that Autism is a different way of being.

“The sort of language Bolt is using demonstrates a lack of understanding of Autism,” he said. “This is hate speech against the Autistic community, and Greta’s shot back was appropriate and then some. We are indeed not deeply disturbed. We are different. Bolt has a history of not respecting difference in a number of different respects, and I call on News Corp and Sky News to review his employment.“

Gluyas is preparing a petition calling on the federal government to either fund an inquiry into hate speech by the Human Rights Commission, or hold a Parliamentary inquiry to hold not just Bolt but others who have expressed hateful views and engaged in discriminatory conduct to a count.

Spectrum Labor condemns Professor Jeremy Nicholson — December 28, 2018

Spectrum Labor condemns Professor Jeremy Nicholson

Phenome Professor should “wash his mouth out with soap” say Autistic Labor members

A group of pro-autism Labor Party members have condemned remarks made to the Sunday Times in Perth on December 16 by Professor Jeremy Nicholson, head of the Australian National Phenome Centre at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, in which Professor Nicholson described Autism as “a silently growing monster” and “the most expensive disease in the Western world.”

Spectrum Labor’s Western Australian spokesperson and recent state election and local council candidate Andrew Owens has described Professor Nicholson’s comments as offensive and irresponsible. Mr Owens is also a former student holding a Bachelor of Science from Murdoch University, where Professor Nicholson will be based.

“No thought has been given to the fact that children are growing up, knowing they are on the Autism spectrum, and they are hearing our most trusted medical experts likening them to a monster and a disease,” Mr Owens said. “Honestly, Professor Nicholson needs to wash his mouth out with soap for using language like that.”

“In fact, Autism is not a disease, it is a different way of being. Diagnosis rates are rising as more is known about the condition.”

Mr Owens also raised concerns about Professor Nicholson’s ambition “to phenotype and genotype every person in WA”.

“While medical research is vital, we need to seriously consider the civil liberties implications of all Western Australians being part of the biggest mass spectrometer in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

Spectrum Labor condemns fake news by Australian National Review — September 19, 2018

Spectrum Labor condemns fake news by Australian National Review

One of the major issues facing the Autistic community is the misrepresentations of the origins of the condition, and consequent trivialisation of the condition depending on the claim.

A key objectionable view that has been promoted this century has been the bogus claim that vaccines cause Autism.

On September 11, 2018, the website Australian National Review published a story titled “MORE studies confirm the link between childhood vaccines and autism”. It was allegedly written by a reporter named Vicki Batts but it derived from the wholly unreliable Natural News, and also calls on the so called World Mercury Project. The latter promotes all forms of mercury as equally toxic and this article claims fresh studies make the link. The title is in itself objectionable to say the least, but the reliance on such unreliable sources are an insult to the Autistic community that Spectrum Labor represents.

Lying about the origins of Autism has a detrimental effect on the rights of Autistics and their carers. It contributes to the fear of the condition and as an aside contributes to the increasing refusal to vaccinate children. Such a contribution can be covered in one word – hate.

Spectrum Labor calls on the Australian National Review to withdraw the article from publication and apologise for misrepresenting the origins of Autism – a genetic natural variation that has always existed and always will, and requires adjustment to thrive with. Opposition to this adjustment creates mental health issues for Autistics and needs to stop. Spectrum Labor is attempting to have this hate speech formally recognised as such so that the Human Rights Commission are empowered to challenge this disgraceful habit.

Spectrum Labor statement condemning NDIS cuts — May 21, 2018

Spectrum Labor statement condemning NDIS cuts

When the former Labor government introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme in 2012, it promised much. It included people with intellectual, physical, sensory and psycho-social disabilities. At the time it appeared the then Coalition opposition supported the scheme and after the test roll out the full scheme started to be implemented in mid 2016.

However the agency running the NDIS carelessly let slip the fact that the Scheme will only support low functioning Autistics, not middle functioning Autistics as it presently stands. The National Disability Insurance Agency was quoted by the Weekend Australian as saying to the Productivity Commission that “The NDIA has noted that autism spectrum disorders may represent a difficulty for List A, and there is evidence to suggest that use of the diagnosis process for autism may differ from the process’s intent, resulting in access to the scheme where eligibility requirements would not otherwise be met.”

Spectrum Labor condemns this attitude, caused we believe by attempts to cut back the scheme in order for the $22 billion budget to be maintained by the Turnbull government. Co-founder Philip Gluyas believes that the NDIS is underfunded considerably and has called on the Scheme to be funded to the value of $40 billion at least to cover not just the low and mid functioning Autistics, but high functioning Autistics with certain issues as well on top of all the other disabilities that should be funded.

There is no room for any form of cuts to the NDIS, and it reflects on the Turnbull government’s general attitude towards the health of Australians.

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