E-Blast: The Public Advocate 2018 Report and Summary

This year the work of the Public Advocate has primarily focused on:

  1. the aged care sector, with a particular focus on the use of unregulated restrictive practices and elder abuse;
  2. monitoring aspects of the operation of the mental health system and the Mental Health Review Tribunal and the treatment of involuntary patients;
  3. working with government to settle a plan for implementation of the recommendations of the Public Advocate’s report Upholding the right to life and health;
  4. monitoring of the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Queensland; and
  5. the operation of the forensic disability service and its treatment of residents of the service.

Mary Burgess, Public Advocate for Queensland said in the report “I would like to make some general observations about the treatment of people with disability by some government agencies and systems in Queensland. While we have some very positive and effective legislation guided by human rights principles, which require decision-makers to proactively consider and protect the human rights of people with disability, there are significant examples across systems of this not being achieved in practice.”

A legislative framework will only be effective in protecting people’s rights if those working under it are committed to that outcome and respect the law and people’s rights and there are mechanisms for oversight and accountability.

These observations apply equally to the operation of the forensic disability system and the involuntary mental health system and the way people detained under those systems are treated, despite both systems having rights-focused legislative frameworks.

These system failings underline the continuing need for human rights defender agencies like my office, the Public Guardian, the Queensland Ombudsman and the Anti-Discrimination Commission to be adequately funded to fulfil our functions.

A summary QDN has prepared of The Public Advocate 2018 Report can be accessed online at this link https://qdn.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/The-Public-Advocate-2018-report-and-summary.docx

 The full report can be accessed online at the link below:  https://www.justice.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/589291/Public-Advocate-Annual-Report-2017-18.pdf

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