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Greens introduce Bill to fix Disability Royal Commission privacy issue

Australian Greens Disability Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John will today make good on his promise to introduce legislation aimed at fixing the lack of confidentiality protections for witnesses giving evidence to the Disability Royal Commission, ensuring that disabled people are able to tell their stories safely.

Senator Steele-John promised last week in the Senate that if the Attorney General did not take action urgently to protect witnesses and give the Royal Commission the safeguards it needs, then the Greens would introduce the necessary legislation this week.

"The Attorney General has known about the need for these confidentiality protections for almost a year, yet he has done nothing about it," Steele-John said.

"Disability Royal Commission Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC wrote to the Attorney General in February formally asking him to change the law, and in the Royal Commission's second progress report, released earlier this month, the Chair dedicated an entire section (page 37) to the limitations this issue was placing on the scope of the Royal Commission.

"So many people in our community have lost all faith in the system because of the violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect they, or their family, have suffered; they want to know that it is safe to tell their stories.

"Now, as public hearings start again to hear about people’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that our Royal Commission can hear evidence from as many people as possible.

"We need to urgently change the law and give people the peace of mind that telling their stories won’t cause them more harm. If this government won't do it, then the Australian Greens will."

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