DRC hears stories from the pandemic

The Royal Commission held a public hearing in Sydney from Tuesday 18 to Friday 21 August 2020. The hearing was closed to the public, but was live streamed on the Royal Commission website.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing was to inquire into:

  1. The impact on people with disability, including First Nations people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and women with disabilities and the barriers and challenges they are facing
  2. The response of the Commonwealth government and agencies to the COVID-19 Pandemic, as it relates to people with disability (noting the Royal Commission expects to examine the particular response of states and territories at a later time)
  3. How some disability service providers have responded to the COVID – 19 Pandemic
  4. The question of how the impact of COVID-19 on people with disability has developed over the period since the Pandemic began
  5. What should be done in the near, medium and long term to better protect people with disability from violence, abuse neglect and exploitation, and promote the inclusion of people with disability during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The four days of hearings included appearances by advocates and representatives of advocacy organisations (PWDA, DJA and WDV) and National peak disability representative organisations (AFDO, CYDA and FPDN). Self advocates from Council for Intellectual Disability and Speak Out Tasmania also gave evidence. Find out more and access recordings on our Spotlight on Advocacy page.

There was also a strong focus on rights, representation and advocacy in the appearances of: 

  • Rosemary Kayess – Vice Chairperson, United Nations Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disability; Senior Lecturer & Senior Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Catalina Devandas Aguilar – United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 
  • Professor Anne Kavanagh – Chair of Disability and Health and Head of the Disability and Health Unit in the Centre for Health Equity in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne
  • Kirsten Deane OAM – Campaign Director for Every Australian Counts & Executive Director of the National Disability and Carers Alliance, Melbourne 

News coverage and commentary: 

CID article: How has the coronavirus pandemic affected people with intellectual disability?  

Piper Alderman Summary Alert: Disability Royal Commission COVID-19 Hearing

Canberra Times article: Royal commission hears coronavirus virus led to disability isolation and alienation

The Guardian articles:  

ABC News stories: