Welcome to the Inquiry
Welcome to the first e-newsletter for our Inquiry into whether Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity. We are excited to be working on such an important and timely project, coinciding with the launch of DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme, to provide funding and support to eligible Australians with disability. It will be great having Graeme Innes AM, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, work with us in the Inquiry. His colleague, Susan Ryan AO, Age Discrimination Commissioner, played a similar role in our inquiry into barriers to workforce participation for older Australians and I feel sure that we will have a similarly productive and constructive relationship with Mr Innes as we did with Ms Ryan. Justice Berna Collier, one of our other part-time Commissioners, is also keenly interested in the area of the Inquiry and will focus her contributions here.
As it is just over two decades since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA), it is appropriate to review aspects of the lived experiences of people with disability where laws and legal frameworks impede equality in some way. The Inquiry is to have particular regard for the ways Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks affect: children; women; Indigenous people; older people; those from rural, remote and regional areas; people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC said that ‘Most of us take for granted the independent decisions we make about our lives. People with disability deserve the same opportunity. This inquiry is about maximising choice and autonomy for Australians with disability.’ These were also key ideas in our recently completed inquiry in relation to older workers.
Our experience working over several recent inquiries has brought us into contact with a number of key disability representative groups and we are looking forward to consulting with you again as we build the essential stakeholder network to assist us in developing our thinking over this year long Inquiry.
We aim to release an Issues Paper in October 2013 and a Discussion Paper in April 2014, with opportunities for submissions and lots of chances for conversation throughout—our well-tried ALRC inquiry process. If you would like us to meet with you, let us know. Do get involved in the Inquiry in whatever way you can.
It will be a great 12 months!