Your voice counts - Making a submission to the Disability Royal Commission 

Making a submission to the Disability Royal Commission is a big step but it could make a difference in the lives of people living with a disability. 
Sharing your experience with the Commission could help prevent others being hurt in the future. Sharing your story takes a lot of bravery and courage. The Commission understands this and will support you. 

The Commission is currently travelling the country hosting public hearings, most recently in Sydney. In October they’ll move to Brisbane to hear about people with a disability accessing a quality education. In November they’ll examine the experiences of First Nations people with a disability in contact with child protection systems. 

Recently in Sydney, the Commission examined the use of psychotropic medication. The Commission heard there were 177,000 reports of unauthorised use of chemical restraints on NDIS participants in 2019-20. 

The Commission heard the tragic case of Oliver McGowan who was a school prefect, played representative football and athletics and was training to become a Paralympian. Unfortunately, Oliver died after a severe reaction to a psychotropic drug. The 18-year-old was given the medication during a seizure. Oliver lived with autism, partial epilepsy, and a mild intellectual disability. His mother, Paula McGowan, believes he should never have been given that drug.  

“We believe that if Oliver had not have had the labels of autism and intellectual disability attached to him, he would absolutely have not have been prescribed psychotropic medications,” Paula told the Commission. She wants to see the introduction of laws requiring health professionals receive proper training. 

While stories like Oliver’s are distressing, they are important to hear so we can create a more just and inclusive society. You can share your experiences with the Commission by making a submission or applying for a private session with a Commissioner. You can share your story online, in writing, over the phone, as an email, a video message, or a voice recording. You can also make a submission in your preferred language and Auslan – the Commission will provide interpreters and support to help you. 

More information can be found on the Commission's website.