Update on the Disability Royal Commission

In mid-December the Disability Royal Commission held its last public hearing for 2020.  

The hearing examined the training of health workers, including medical practitioners, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and psychologists, in relation to people with cognitive disability. 

Ahead of the hearing Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC said: 
“The medical treatment of people with disability - in this case, people with a cognitive disability - must be undertaken with great care and understanding." 

“The Royal Commission needs to understand how health professionals are taught to communicate, treat and care for patients with cognitive disability in their learning environments.” 

The hearing was closed to the public but a transcript and recording can be accessed through the Royal Commission’s website.  

Earlier in December the Royal Commission also examined workplace discrimination. It heard that people with a disability often face inappropriate questions during the hiring process and can lose their jobs when they ask for special assistance.  

Yuri Sianski, from Hobart who lives with schizophrenia, says he has spent 25 years looking for work. His father Edward told the Royal Commission Yuri had been exploited and offered little support to help find work.  

"The whole system is really up against people like Yuri with a mental illness," Edward told the Royal Commission. 

"A mental illness is a condition that ebbs and flows. Yuri represents many, many people in this situation, they have a mental illness, they are put on a Disability Support Pension and then they're forgotten about." 

The Royal Commission also published an issues paper at the start of December about how Australia could become a more inclusive society.  

The issues paper explores the experiences of exclusion some people with disability may face.  
This included examples of employers not making work more accessible, society's failure to recognise people’s independence and ability to make decisions for themselves, a school or other place of education not being resourced so all people can participate and learn, or people with disability not being able to have a support person with them during a legal process, and effectively excluding them from justice.  

The issues paper asks for contributions from people about how society can be more inclusive. This means all people can have a say in creating policy and changes in their lives and that of broader society.  

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