People with disability and our representative organisations call on Acting Attorney-General Michaelia Cash and the Morrison Government to keep your promise and pass legislation in the next sitting of Federal Parliament that will protect the confidentiality of information given to the Disability Royal Commission.
The Disability Royal Commission is expected to run for three years. However, it has now run for almost two years without adequate legislation in place to protect the confidentiality of submissions beyond the life of the Royal Commission.
As it stands, a person providing information can only be guaranteed confidentiality after the Royal Commission concludes if their information was provided in a private session. If people make a written, audio or video submission, it will currently only be confidential until the end of the Royal Commission.
The Hon. Ronald Sackville AO QC, Chair of the Disability Royal Commission, first called on the Australian Government to amend the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (the Act) to extend the same privacy protections that were available under the Act for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse to our Disability Royal Commission over a year ago.
In October 2020, people with disability and our representative organisations campaigned for legislation to amend the Act, and the Morrison Government responded with an announcement that the Attorney-General’s Department was “work[ing] swiftly on the amendments with the aim of introducing them in the Autumn sittings 2021.”
With only a year to go, time is running out for people with disability, and those who have witnessed the violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation perpetrated against us, to tell our stories to the Disability Royal Commission.
Many survivors who wish to come forward with information regarding distressing and traumatic incidents, including incidents that may be happening in the present, need certainty that information given in confidence will remain confidential after the Royal Commission has concluded. There are people who may not be able to access support to participate in a private session, or may choose not to, preferring to give information in submission form.
It is vital to the success of the Royal Commission that the appropriate changes to the legislation are made as soon as possible.
We call up upon the Acting Attorney-General to prioritise introducing legislation into the Federal Parliament to extend the same privacy protections for the Disability Royal Commission that were provided to people making submissions to the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission.
We call upon all members of Federal Parliament to support the calls for a bill to amend the Royal Commission Act to protect the confidentiality of people’s submissions beyond the life of the Royal Commission and to pass such legislation as a matter of urgency.
- Children and Young People with Disability Australia
- Disability Advocacy Network Australia
- First Peoples Disability Network
- Inclusion Australia
- National Ethnic Disability Alliance
- People with Disability Australia
- Women with Disabilities Australia