Australia today: Gold medal winning Paralympian with no legs and one arm denied assistance because she wasn’t ‘disabled enough’

Posted: July 9, 2015 in Political musings
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Gold medal winning Paralympian denied assistance because she wasn t disabled enough

Tracy Barrell is an Order of Australia recipient, a gold medal-winning Paralympian, and a strong campaigner for those living with disabilities.

A gold medal-winning Paralympian has been told by the Australian government she wasn’t ‘disabled enough’ to qualify for an assistance card. Tracy Barrell is an Order of Australia recipient, a gold medal-winning Paralympian, and a strong campaigner for those living with disabilities.

This is not disabled in today's Australia

This is not disabled in today’s Australia?

Ms Barrel was born with no legs and only one arm due to a medication her mother was given for morning sickness during her pregnancy. Despite her disabilities, in 1992, she won two gold medals for Australia at the Barcelona Paralympics in the Women’s 4×50 metre Freestyle, and the Women’s 50 metre Butterfly.

But when she recently went to apply for a companion card from the Australian government, she was rejected on the grounds she ‘didn’t have enough evidence’ and wasn’t classed as disabled enough.

A companion card allows people with disabilities to be accompanied to certain events and venues by a friend, family member or carer without them having to pay.

“I wasn’t able to receive one due to the ability that I was still able to use my prescribed aids – my skateboard, motorised scooter and modified car,” Ms Barrell told The Daily Mail.

The single mum-of-two used a combination of the above to live her life as independently as possible, but said she still faced hurdles every day. A friend has since organised a Change.Org petition to push for a review of the decision.

Ms Barrell’s two sons are her biggest help and she does not have a full-time carer. However she struggles to get out of the house and battles with situational depression.

The card would allow her to participate in more activities without the financial pressure of having to pay for someone to go with her, or help her out.



‘I do brave it and do these things myself, but it would be a hell of a lot easier if I had help,’ she said. Ms Barrell told The Daily Mail she felt she ticked all the boxes for the card eligibility and was ‘distraught’ when she found out she had been rejected.

“I cried all day,” she said.

She hoped her story would open up the conversation about the support disabled people receive in Australia, and help inform the public about everyday struggles people with disabilities face.

“It’s not even my battle anymore, it’s everybody else’s battle too and that’s what I really stand for.”

Wellthisiswhatithink update: We are pleased to report that following social media pressure a card has been awarded.

The key question is, of course, why it took a campaign to achieve this. Please share this story widely to ensure that other disabled people are not put through what Tracy went through.

(Yahoo, Daily Telegraph and others)

  1. Miles says:

    The question is, though, how many people who signed the petition would also vote for reducing benefits to those scroungers who pretend to be sick and claim sickness benefits?


    • Plenty, I would assume. Though I am not sure how many scroungers there are, in reality; the authorities are pretty hot on such things today. The point is though, someone looked at the application and said to themselves “one arm, no legs, yeah, that’s not disabled”. Incredible.


  2. anonymous613 says:

    In Australia, the Death Cult called Govt Authorities, seem to enjoy preying upon the Disabled Community.
    Anything to ruin their lives for a Dollar.


  3. underwriiter505 says:

    So your leaders in Oz have not yet clearly told you that anyone with net worth of less than a billion (dollars, Australian dollars, Euros, whatever) is a lazy, shiftless taker who is faking any apparent need for any kind of assistance? Gee, ours have. I would have thought Toby Abbott would be right on it.


  4. the person’s responsible do not know what being Australian is all about, a fair-go, at best they are only 1st generation Australian’s, some have no generation’s, so they have no problem’s doing what they do, slash-burn all that Australia once stood for, one of them wasn’t even in Australia when Tracey won us fame, that’s right, us Australian’s, fame, yep, this is the way we treat our injured returned digger’s and now our disabled athlete’s, what is going-on?? we decay from the inside, no soul, no heart, onya Joe,Mathias, Eric, all dinkim Australian’s?? I think-not, please google these for a start.


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