I want to acknowledge today’s historic Parliamentary vote to support a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with a disability.
As somebody who worked as a disability support worker, I can attest to the grave need for this.
For too long, we have been hearing the horrific stories of people with disability who have endured violence, abuse and neglect. This is intolerable and it is time we confronted this reality.
I was particularly distressed to learn of deaths in my own region as a result of “practice failures” at disability services provider, Lifestyle Solutions. This case prompted me to write to the Prime Minister in 2017 requesting an urgent independent review into abuse of people with disability in care.
A Royal Commission will mean people with disability, their loved ones and their carers can tell their stories and seek justice at the highest level.
Australia should lead the way on being an inclusive and supportive society, but we must first shine a light on the terrible abuse that is happening across the country every day.
This vote confirms that the Australian Parliament has zero tolerance for any sort of abuse of people with disability – but now it must be followed by action.
I urge the Government to follow through on its parliamentary promise. It must now work in partnership with people with a disability to design the Terms of Reference and establish a Royal Commission as a matter of urgency.