The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Parliament House, Canberra
Dear Prime Minister
We welcome the announcement of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. However, we are deeply worried that people with intellectual disability will not have their voices heard at the Royal Commission.
We call on the Australian Government to ensure that the panel of Commissioners includes people who have a specialist knowledge of intellectual disability and inclusive practice. Currently there is no-one on the panel with this type of knowledge.
We call on the Commission to appoint people with lived experience of intellectual disability to senior roles. Senior staff with lived experience will provide the advice needed to ensure that people with intellectual disability can feel safe to tell their stories, and be fully included in the Commission.
Our members – people with intellectual disability – have been advocating for a Royal Commission for many years, and are grateful that the Australian government understands and has recognised the importance of this issue by establishing the Commission. However, following the consultation on the Commission’s Terms of Reference, we are concerned that people with intellectual disability may not be able to participate fully in the Commission’s hearings and other processes. We are concerned that people with intellectual disability felt locked out of the consultation due to the short time frame, the language used, the limited availability of Easy Read information, and the survey platform.
If the Commission itself continues in the same way, many of the stories of people with intellectual disability will not be heard and the process itself could be exclusionary and damaging.
We would be very glad to discuss our concerns in further detail and to offer our expertise on inclusive practice to make sure the voices of people with intellectual disability are heard at the Royal Commission.