Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Thank you. I just want to make it clear that Labor wants an independent national inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disabilities. The stories told on Four Corners were harrowing. They were gut-wrenching. They cannot be ignored. These incidents of sexual and physical abuse were sickening. The abuse of vulnerable people with disability is a national shame and needs to be investigated.
The government's response is also shameful. It took the government 15 months to respond to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee report into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disabilities in institutional and residential settings. It was a woefully inadequate response, with only one of the committee's 30 recommendations agreed to by the government. The voices of people who have been abused must be heard. Their voices can no longer be ignored. That is why Labor wants an national inquiry, and that is why we are talking with families, carers and disability organisations about the best type of inquiry and the best way forward.