The Disability Royal Commission is sitting in Brisbane. Commissioners explained how they want to help prevent exploitation or abuse of the disabled.

Harris Wakeling reports.


Today marked a turning point in the way Dirk Melton hopes he’ll be viewed by fellow Australians.

The ACU Academic wants the Commission to institute change in the way those with disability are treated, but says it’ll be hard.

Dirk Melton: “I want people to learn from some of the mistakes we’ve made in this country so that people with my disability do not have to go through what I’ve gone through.”

He is one of many who made their way to the Brisbane Convention Centre to sit in on the first day of proceedings.

The Disability Commission wants them all to be treated with respect.

Ronald Sackville, Commission Chair: “Australians have demonstrated a willingness over time to embrace seismic shifts in social attitudes.”

Almost one in twelve Australians with a disability have experienced discrimination, so clearly there is an enormous task ahead.

One of the commission’s aims is to address the abuse against Indigenous Australians, which is higher than the national average.

Andrea Mason, Commissioner: “First Nations people are already marginalised in the Australian community. Having a disability makes them part of a marginalised group within a marginalised group.”

The Commission aims to hear everyone’s concerns by conducting hearings in regional locations, as well as all capital cities.

Its recommendations are expected to be ready in just over two years.

Harris Wakeling, QUT News.