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Power and abuse: disability royal commission puts guardianship under the microscope

Power and abuse: disability royal commission puts guardianship under the microscope



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Abuse, maladministration and secrecy are emerging as the main themes of the royal commission’s study of the role of public guardian and public trustee.

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Horrific stories of secrecy, control and abuse have emerged from the disability royal commission which this week is examining the role of public guardians and public trustees.

Both are appointed when a person is deemed by a tribunal to not have the capacity to make their own decisions: public guardians make decisions over a person’s accommodation, medical and personal care; public trustees oversee a person’s finances. They should be an appointment of last resort. 

As revealed in a Crikey investigation from September last year, more than 60,000 Australians are under state control. Victims of the system have accused state governments of profiteering from financial administration orders, with public guardians ignoring people’s wishes about where and how they want to live. 

Read more about tales of woe from the disability royal commission.

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About the Author

Amber Schultz — Associate Editor

Amber Schultz

Associate Editor @AmberMaySchultz

Amber Schultz covers health and social affairs for Crikey. In 2022 she was awarded a Young Walkley Award for her on-the-ground coverage of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, and has been shortlisted for four other Young Walkleys. In 2021 she was awarded the 2021 Mumbrella Young Writer of the Year for her coverage of sexual violence, and in 2018 completed the Jacoby-Walkley scholarship. She holds master’s degrees in journalism and international relations.

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