The government is taking further measures to ensure people with disability and their supporters will be able to recount their experiences and fully participate in the Disability Royal Commission with immunity.
Amendments to the Royal Commissions Act 1902 will protect the confidentiality of information given to the inquiry that follow existing mechanisms that also protect the identity of witnesses, including through the use of private sessions or pseudonyms, or the making of do not publish orders.
“We want people in the community to engage fully with the Royal Commission,” Attorney-General, Christian Porter said. “The amendments will ensure the work of this Royal Commission is guided by people’s experiences and that outcomes are based on a true reflection of those experiences.
“I have instructed my department to work swiftly on the amendments, with the aim of introducing this in the autumn sittings of 2021. With these amendments, we are acting to ensure that the Royal Commission receives vital evidence to inform its findings,” he said.
Chair of the Royal Commission, Ronald Sackville requested the amendments, so people with disability would have reassurance that their information will be protected both during the life of the Royal Commission and after it has concluded its work.
The Royal Commission is due to present an interim report to the Governor-General on October 30, 2020 and its final report is due by April 2022.
This latest action follows a campaign from disability organisations calling for the confidentiality of those telling their stories to the inquiry to be protected.