Monday, 18 February 2019
Resolutions of the Senate
Disability Services; Consideration of Senate Message
I say to the advocates here with us today: this is a very, very significant day. You and I know how long we've all been talking about the importance of this royal commission. But today is not enough—it's not enough. We actually need the terms of reference finalised. We need the royal commission announced. We need to get it started. Today is a good start, but it is not enough.
I think, as all of us who have lived through the experience of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse know, a royal commission is a place where the truth can be told but also where justice can be found. People with disability who have been abused need to find that place where they can tell their stories, where they will be believed and, also, where justice can be found. That is so important for people with disability.
It is also the case that a royal commission will be the guiding light for the future. We want to see a royal commission that will outline how people with disability can live, work and be educated in places that will be safe. Not closed places: not closed places of housing, not closed schools and not closed institutions where what goes on can't be seen. That's why we need a royal commission; to make clear to those who set up the places where people are going to be cared for in the future—the places that people with disability themselves control—that these are open places and that they are places where people can get the support and care that they need and get it in a way that people with disability themselves determine.
We know how important it is that people with disability determine these terms of reference, because without that they won't have the control and the faith in this royal commission that they seek. That is what the government needs to take the most seriously. People with disability themselves must guide this royal commission. That is what we commit to today. That is what we want to see and that is what we will lend our support to. I would say to the government that, of course, we appreciate very much the commitment that has been given today, but, please, hasten with people with disability. Get this royal commission established; it needs to be done for the sake of justice.
Question agreed to.