Greens senator Jordon Steele-John says the Disability Royal Commission is not ready to go.
“Disabled people have fought for decades for this opportunity for justice. We cannot afford to put this at risk simply because the commission wishes to be seen to be doing something. Nobody wants to have the opportunity for disabled people to tell our stories more than disabled people. If disabled people are saying ‘we are not ready’, then, we are not bloody ready.” Senator Steele-John said.
NFP Children and Young People with Disability is urging the Royal Commission to hold off on its historic first public hearing in November, arguing a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” could be lost as there is not enough support for those giving evidence.
The Commission’s legal support services won’t be fully in place till December or later. There is also no way for people to provide confidential submissions, with officials acknowledging there is “not a clear [path]” for whistleblowers to contact the Royal Commission.
Since the Royal Commission was announced it has been plagued by concerns from disability advocates about the appointment of two of the seven commissioners. DANA and its members believe that John Ryan and Barbara Bennett have unmanageable conflicts of interest due to previous jobs associated with the disability sector and disability policy. The government is standing by the appointments and all the commissioners have made a conflict of interest statement, outlining how they will deal with their past roles.