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Royal Commission: Major parties block disability community's opportunity for justice

Wednesday, 19 September

An Australian Greens motion calling for the terms of reference of a proposed Royal Commission to be expanded to cover violence, abuse and neglect of older Australians and disabled people in institutional and residential settings has been blocked.

Australian Greens Disability Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John succeeded in securing the votes of the entire crossbench but the motion was ultimately voted down by the Labor and Liberal parties.

Senator Steele-John said a huge opportunity had been missed, and waiting longer for a separate, second Royal Commission would ultimately lead to more deaths in the disability community.

“There have been 200 complaints to the National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline this year alone, which is why I’ve spent this week urging all sides of this chamber to put politics aside and just do what is right,” Steele-John said.

“Sadly, the Labor party are hedging the lives of disabled Australians on whether or not they win the next election and even then, I have little faith they will follow through.

“The aged care and disability sectors are interconnected. Many older Australian’s are in care because of age-related disability, and indeed many are in disability institutions, just as there are young disabled people in aged care homes.

“The workforces of both sectors overlap, as do the service providers and the advocates in the space. If the shoe were on the other foot so to speak, I would be right here arguing that older Australians should be included in a Royal Commission exclusively looking into the disability sector.

“Contrary to what the Labor will have you believe, a broad Royal Commission will leave no stone unturned and ensure nobody falls through the cracks.

“A comprehensive Royal Commission into the violence, abuse and neglect of older Australians and disabled people in institutional and residential settings is what is needed, and I will never back down from that position.”

Details of the motion as follows:

Media contact:

Tim Oliver (Senator Steele-John) – 0448 316 387

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