Tuesday, 16 June 2020
The Senate has supported a Greens motion calling on the Government to urgently legislate protections for witnesses seeking to make a submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Exploitation and Neglect of People with Disability in confidence.
Australian Greens Disability Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said confidentiality protections were not only essential, but time-sensitive to ensure that the Royal Commission could do its job properly.
“The Government has already wasted the best part of a year of a Royal Commission process that has only been scheduled to take three years,” he said.
“Failure to act quickly has had, and will continue to have, a chilling effect on the Royal Commission.
“I have people contacting my office all the time – people who have lost all faith in the system because of the violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect they, or their family, have suffered – wanting to know when it will be safe for them to tell their stories.
Under current legislative arrangements confidentiality can only be guaranteed until the end of Royal Commission.
The Government indicated in the Senate today that they were “considering their options” and that “a decision would be made shortly”.