Australia

Federal government to fully fund disability royal commission

Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John Source: AAP

The federal government has released for public consultation a broad draft of the terms of reference for a disability royal commission.

A royal commission into the mistreatment of disabled Australians is starting to take shape, with the Morrison government releasing draft terms of reference and agreeing to fully fund it.

The federal government is proposing to investigate the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of Australians with disabilities, wherever it has taken place.

Greens senator Jordon Steele-John, who was the driving force behind the royal commission, said redress should have been explicitly mentioned in the terms.

"A clear pathway forward for survivors of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect must be included in any royal commission including prosecution, investigation and most importantly, redress," he said in a statement.

Disability royal commission
AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the inquiry would cover people with cognitive impairments as well as physical disabilities.

He said there would be no time limit on cases to be considered. 

"It's focused on how they have been mistreated, abused, not respected, been held back, not being able to realise their opportunities to live full and complete lives," Mr Morrison said on Wednesday. 

One-in-five Australians have an impairment, either from birth, or acquired through an accident, illness or ageing.

People with disabilities should be commissioners

Disability campaigner Kirsten Deane said the royal commission had been a long time coming.

"The abuse, violence and neglect experienced by so many people with disability has remained in the shadows for far, far too long," Ms Deane said.

Ms Deane wants people with disabilities to be included as commissioners.

Disability advocates are pushing for the royal commission to be called before the Morrison government calls an election and enters caretaker mode, when such an inquiry can no longer be established.

Mr Morrison said they would "move quickly" to set up the commission, which will be fully funded by the federal government, once the two-week consultation on the draft terms of reference is completed. 

"Now is the time to examine not only what has happened in the past and get justice for those who have suffered but also look at what must be done to prevent it ever happening again."

The federal government is taking feedback on the draft terms of reference over the next two weeks, in case something has been missed.

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