Media Release by The Hon Paul Fletcher MP

Establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

Joint Media Release with:

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison today announced the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The Prime Minister said the official signing of the Letters Patent by the Governor-General means the Royal Commission can now commence its important work.

“We have consulted extensively across Australia with people with disability, their families and carers, states and territories, peaks representing people with disability and the disability sector, about the shape and breadth of the Royal Commission,” the Prime Minister said.

“We listened to the feedback and have now finalised the Terms of Reference, which define what the Royal Commission can investigate and make recommendations about.

“Importantly, over 96 per cent of people responding to the survey agreed the Royal Commission should cover all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, in all settings where they occur – and that’s just what it will do.”

Over 3,700 people responded to the public consultation on the draft Terms of Reference, which closed on 28 March.

Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher said the consultation included feedback on what kinds of advocacy or support people may need to engage with the Royal Commission.

“The Australian Government has committed $527.9 million for the Royal Commission, which includes funding to support people with disability to participate in the Royal Commission,” Minister Fletcher said

“The funding anticipates the Royal Commission will run for three years and includes establishment costs and residual costs after the inquiry has finished,” Mr Fletcher said.

The Prime Minister also announced the appointment of Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC as the Chair of the Royal Commission. Mr Sackville will be supported by five other Royal Commissioners:

  • Ms Barbara Bennett PSM
  • Dr Rhonda Galbally AC
  • Ms Andrea Mason OAM
  • Mr Alastair McEwin
  • The Hon John Ryan AM

“We sought recommendations from the disability sector and state and territory governments on these appointments,” the Prime Minister said.

“The panel of six Commissioners is representative of a diverse range of backgrounds, which includes lived experience of disability, judicial and policy experience, and Indigenous leadership,” the Prime Minister said.

The newly appointed Commissioners will decide on the next steps in the coming months, including when to hold hearings and how people can participate.

“Violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability is unacceptable and abhorrent and it’s critically important to make this truly a national inquiry,” the Prime Minister said.

“I thank the state and territory governments for their in-principal support of this inquiry. I have now written to all State Premiers inviting them to issue joint commissions under their respective Royal Commissions legislation.”

More details are available on the Attorney-General’s website at