Prime Minister Scott Morrison has penned a letter asking for the support of every State and Territory for a Royal Commission into the violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability.
The letters, sent to the nation's premiers and chief ministers, confirms Prime Minister Morrison believes a joint royal commission is the best way to get to the bottom of allegations about the treatment of people with disability.
“I think we can all agree that violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability is abhorrent and that we should all be doing all we can to ensure a safe and secure Australia,” he writes.
“It is crucial that all Governments work closely and collaboratively to ensure a holistic response to this issue.
“Accordingly, I am now seeking your in-principle agreement for the establishment of a joint royal commission and the most appropriate consultation pathways to progress this important matter.”
Prime Minister Morrison also met recently with Disability Commissioner Alastair McEwin to discuss the Royal Commission’s Terms of References.
Senator Jordon Steele-John, who has played a pivotal role in leading the motion for a Royal Commission almost two weeks ago took to Twitter to share the correspondence he has had with the rest of the country.
“When I reached out to the states & territories last week I received in-principle support from 6 out of 8 for a #RoyalCommission.
“Now that SA and Tassie are on board there is literally nothing stopping you @ScottMorrisonMP #Auspol.”
Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) also wrote an open letter outlining its recommendations for how the Royal Commission must work.
“We deserve an urgent response and justice for the high rates of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation we experience.
“We need a Royal Commission to lay out the pathway towards a future where we are safe, where violence is no longer a normal part of our lives, and we are included fully in the community.
“We are calling on the Government to establish and resource our Royal Commission immediately, and undertake a comprehensive, meaningful consultation with people with disability about the Terms of Reference, particularly with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).
“Our Royal Commission needs to centre people with disability in all ways and bear witness to the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation we are subject to.
“It needs to have accessible private sessions available wherever we live so that we can tell our stories with the adjustments and supports we require to do that.”
DPO has also recommended the Royal Commission into disability:
- cover all people with disability and take an intersectional approach to issues of age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, intersex status, race and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people with disability
- must cover all settings, circumstances and contexts
- extensive consultation with Aboriginal controlled organisations of people with disability on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific issues
- must examine all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
- must examine the legal, policy and practice frameworks that enable and perpetrate violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability
- must interrogate what needs to be done to provide a nationally consistent framework to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against us in future.
“Our Royal Commission must recognise the unique needs, rights and experiences of people with disability, and the inquiry must reflect this through accessibility at all levels.”
DPO is also calling on ancillary supports, including all Royal Commission materials be available in accessible formats, funding and resources to DPOs to allow organisations to fully support and engage in the Royal Commission, funding and supports to people with disability to share evidence and/or make submissions and funding for research.
A formal announcement is not expected until the Prime Minister has received feedback from every State and Territory.