Tuesday, 1 December 2020
Questions without Notice
Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
[via video link] My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health, Senator Cash. The COVID-19 report of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability found that the Morrison government's failures led to it 'neglecting to develop policies specifically addressing the needs of people with disability'. Why?
I thank Senator Bilyk for the question. As the government have said, we have welcomed the release of the disability royal commission's interim report. We acknowledge that we all have a role to play in stamping out violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with a disability. It is completely unacceptable. We also thank the disability royal commission for its important work and we will carefully consider the findings in relation to COVID-19, as well as other issues and recommendations that emerge as part of this inquiry. The government is committed to ensuring our response to the global pandemic properly takes into account the needs of people with disability, and we will carefully consider all of the recommendations as part of this process. I can also advise that the Australian government will work across relevant portfolios and ministers to respond to the commission's recommendations as a matter of priority.
It was the absence of that consultation that led to significant failures in the responses of the Australian government.
Why was the Morrison government willing to leave Australians with a disability behind?
I reject the premise of your question. You would be aware that the government has consulted widely in relation to this. Again, we welcome the interim report of the disability royal commission. As I've also said, we will now work across portfolios and across ministers to respond to the commission's recommendations as a matter of priority.
Thank you, Mr President. The report found that the Morrison government failed to provide PPE to people with disability and their support workers, failed to provide access to essential food and medications, and left people with disability feeling forgotten and ignored. Why does the Morrison government keep leaving vulnerable Australians behind?
I again reject the premise of your question. As I said, we have welcomed the interim report of the disability royal commission. Again, as I have already stated, one of our most important tasks during the course of COVID-19 has been to protect people with disability. As we have also stated, we all have a role to play in stamping out violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with disability. The government has acted swiftly and decisively to help protect Australians with disability in response to the evolving impact of COVID-19. As I've said, we will now work across portfolios and across ministers in relation to the recommendations.