To Anita Joseph, the executive assistant to Alistair McEwin, Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Good morning Anita
Will the Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin be making a public statement in relation to the Four Corners program on violence, abuse and neglect in residential settings?
Last night Linton Besser reported in a Four Corners program – Fighting the System – with some of the most graphic abuses of people with disabilities in group homes, including 5 deaths in the last few years. But I guess because there were no spithoods involved and didn’t draw comparisons to Abu Grahib just to Bedlam there are no headlines today.
A Senate Inquiry released a report on 25 November, 2015 — and finally in the last couple of weeks the government finally responded with NO there will be no Royal Commission.
What will the Australian Human Rights Commission do about this in the face of the overwhelming evidence which have been accumulated?; not only from the witnesses, hearings and submissions to the recent Senate Inquiry whose primary recommendation was for a Royal Commission, but from the Inquiries in every state which have been undertaken over the last couple of years as well as egregious iniquity towards people with severe disabilities in the findings of the Australian Law Reform Commission into Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws.
I sent this email to the ABC journalist Linton Besser after the show, last night.
Good evening Linton
Tonight’s programme is the stuff of nightmares – the images and the stories are reminiscent of the Bedlam of old. It is just appalling.
Where is the swift action for the powerless in our communities who are the subject of dreadful abuse?
Where are the protectors of people who are so terribly disabled and
who are powerless to change their circumstances unless it is through the agency of exposure and advocacy.
Thank you for this powerful program, please thank your producers and editors. The media and those who are in a place of power can chance these circumstances of abuse, neglect, injury and exploitation.
But apparently those in power are craven in the face of these atrocities.
I am absolutely crushed that the government has not swiftly responded with the Royal Commission so urgently needed into Violence, abuse and neglect against people in disability in institutional and residential settings.
I am part of a group of people who gave evidence to that Senate Inquiry in Sydney in August 2015.
We documented only nine cases (that’s all we were allowed to present) of terrible abuse and neglect with dreadful injuries to people who cannot speak. We called for a Royal Commission as did many others who made submissions and who gave evidence.
That the government has refused to establish such a Royal Commission given the disclosures in that Inquiry is an abrogation of its responsibility to people with severe disabilities. What is more worrying still is that that the NDIS is rolling right over the top of foundations which are rotten to the core. That the federal government cannot see the need for a Royal Commission is beyond belief and given that there are inadequate and barely-there safeguards which have only recently been implemented, in fact last year the NDIA agency was giving evidence about safeguards to the Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of children and to the utter atonishment of the Commissioners when asked if the conduce and safeguards were in place, the Agency advised that No, they had still not be finalised.
The Federal government knows of this violence, abuse and neglect and yet why no Royal Commission.
I have been checking regularly as to whether the federal government had even responded to the Senate Inquiry Report, I heard tonight that they have responded with a resounding NO to a Royal Commission. Aren’t we all supposed to be equal before the law? – well I guess not, it seems the federal government does not respect, value or give due regard to people with disabilities who cannot speak, perhaps the absence of a spithood is the missing link to draw a Royal Commission.
Indeed Linton they say society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable — actually Australian society is judged by how it MISTREATS its most vulnerable. How absolutely perverse.
What a disgraceful government. You are very aware that your program has only examined a shard of ice from the iceberg. What is going to happen in NSW to all the people living in government operated group homes adds to the disgrace; where people with disabilities will be treated like sacks of funding and not human beings and will be ‘traded’ to the private sector by a venal NSW government as it schemes and plots to get the best value for the ‘jewels in the crown’ services as it abandons our most vulnerable citizens to a system for which there is no protection and no capacity for those vulnerable citizens to attest to what they are being subjected.
Yours in irate incandescence.
Mary Lou Carter
We need a Royal Commission NOW!! Will Alistair McEwin champion this cause? I look forward to your response with respect to what Alistair will do regarding this disgrace.
Mary Lou Carter