Royal Commission releases sixth issues paper on Rights and Attitudes

The Disability Royal Commission is interested in understanding awareness and recognition of the rights of people with disability. The Royal Commission also seeks to look at attitudes towards people with disability.

This issues paper outlines the Royal Commission’s commitment to the rights of people with disability and upholds Australia’s agreed commitment to respect, protect and fulfil the right described in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Article 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires the government to:

Raise awareness…foster respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities…combat stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices … [and] promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.


The CRPD sets out the rights of people with disability. It covers rights across all aspects of life, including home, family, education, work, healthcare and justice. It includes the right to privacy, access to public facilities, accessible information and participation in society on an equal basis. It also confirms that people with disability have the right to live free from exploitation, violence and abuse. Rights in the CRPD are not automatically part of Australian domestic law.

The Royal Commission welcomes any information that will assist their understanding of these issues, including how they may be linked to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, as well as examples of good practice.


Disability advocacy is acting, speaking or writing to promote protect and defend the human rights of people with disability, Disability advocacy may include self-advocacy, individual advocacy, legal advocacy and systemic advocacy.

Representative organisations of people with disability have an important role to play in advocating for the rights and interests of people with disability.


Attitudes are thoughts, beliefs and feelings that can influence our behaviour. The attitudes that people, organisations and governments have about people with disability can inform laws, policies and practices, resulting in harmful consequences for people with disability. Attitudes can be implicit, based on hidden, negative thoughts and feelings known as unconscious bias. Unconscious bias can influence behaviour and this may lead to discrimination.

The purpose of this issues paper is to understand:

  • what laws, policies, practices and supports are needed to reduce the risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • how aware people with disability and the broader community are of the rights of people with disability, as set out in the CRPD. We also want to understand the extent to which organisations and governments recognise, promote and safeguard these rights in laws, policies and practices.
  • know about advocacy or advocacy assistance for people with disability, and how well this is working to promote and protect their rights.
  • We want to understand how the attitudes held by people, organisations and governments impact people with disability.

The issues paper includes 10 questions to help address these areas of investigation. You can choose to answer as many questions as you wish. The Royal Commission encourages responses by July 31 2020 but will accept responses after this date.

The complete Rights and Attitudes issues paper and how to respond can be found on the Disability Royal Commission website.