Advertisement

Emotional Scott Morrison Launches Disability Royal Commission

Prime Minister Scott Morrison officially announced a disability royal commission in an emotional press-conference on Friday.

He said he wanted the  $527 million royal commission to make sure disabled Australians could be "all that they can be" and experience the richness of life in Australia.

Morrison came close to tears when he dedicated the royal commission to disabled Australians including his brother-in-law, Gary Warren, who lives with multiple sclerosis.

"As my brother-in-law Gary also said to me, 'it is not flash being disabled but the good thing is that that's the condition you live with in Australia and that you're an Australian'," he said.

"That has always meant a lot to me."

Scott Morrison with his sister and brother-in-law. IMAGE: Getty Images

Former Federal Court judge Ronald Sackville will lead the disability royal commission and the six commissioners will examine violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation "in all settings" including schools, institutions, workplaces and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

"Importantly the panel of six commissioners includes those with a lived experience of disability as well as judicial and policy expertise, and including Indigenous leadership," he said.

The three-year royal commission will be based in Brisbane and will examine violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation within the disability sector.

READ MORE: 'They Don’t See You’: Living With A Disability In Australia

Morrison detailed the establishment of the commission in Canberra on Friday morning, ahead of an impending election.

He also praised Greens senator Jordon Steele-John for advocating the commission.

"This is so above politics, I can't tell you," he said.

Greens senator Jordon Steele-John. IMAGE: AAP

The funding includes $379.1 million for the Attorney-General's Department to run the commission but there is another $149 million to cover related costs for Commonwealth agencies.

This will be used to offer support including advocacy services and counselling.

JORDAN STEELE-JOHN: It’s Hard For People To Conceive What Life's Journey Is Like For Disabled People

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said he was pleased the royal commission had been called, despite being just before the federal election.

"A royal commission into people with disabilities is overdue," he said.

"Labor supported this nearly two years ago. I'm glad the Government's come on board on election eve.

The PM said the draft terms of reference had attracted 37,000 responses, a third of which came from people living with a disability.

He said the cost and time for the royal commission was greater than other inquiries because it would need additional resources to allow people with disabilities right across the country to give evidence.

It's the sixth royal commission in six years.

An interim report expected by end of next October, with a final report due by the end of April 2022.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au