Measures taken during yesterday’s Question Time to delay a vote calling for a Royal Commission into the violence and abuse of people with disability in residential care, are extraordinary and without precedent. A motion from Senator Jordon Steele-John to establish a Royal Commission inquiry into violence and abuse of people with disability within the disability sector passed the Senate in the morning and reportedly had the numbers to pass the House of Representatives too. However, the vote has been successfully delayed until Parliament sits again next week.

Australian Flag flying above Parliament House

Prime Minister Scott Morrison allowed Question Time to run for a record-breaking two and half hours yesterday, well beyond the previous record of 126 minutes over a decade ago, causing Opposition Leader Bill Shorten MP to accuse the government of extending question time to deliberately delay a vote on establishing a royal commission on the mistreatment of people with disability in the disability support sector, in order to avoid a repeat of Tuesday’s events, which saw the Coalition lose a strategic vote in the House of Representatives.

Senator Jordon Steele-John entered the lower chamber, heckling the Prime Minister, calling for him to “do the right thing”. The Senator has since accused the Prime Minister of differential treatment, claiming the Prime Minister of not considering a “disabled person as quite like himself” or equal to himself.

Defenders of the Prime Minister are pointing to his lived experience of disability by pointing to his relationship with his brother-in-law who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and uses a wheelchair, as well as his tenure as Social Services Minister between December 2014 and September 2015.

Information sourced from ABC, SBS and, Friday 15th Feb 2019