This Bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on 28 July 2022. The bill offers immunity against civil and criminal claims if the provider complies with the restrictive practices obligations in the quality of care principles:
- Substituting subordinate legislation [the quality-of-care principles – made as regulations under the aged care act] in place of centuries old common-law such as unlawful imprisonment, battery, and habeas corpus.
- Overreach of Commonwealth constitutional powers in granting immunity across a range of important criminal and civil law enacted by states and territories e.g. Work health and safety law, writs of habeas corpus, Australian consumer law, common law crime of unlawful restraint, assault & battery.
- Breach of Australia’s obligations under the ICCPR [international covenant on civil and political rights [and the optional protocol which Australia has signed] as regards the right to liberty [article 9].
- The bill offers a provider legal immunity only if there is compliance with the quality of care principles – but the last 25 years has been punctuated daily with breaches of the quality of care principles by providers – leading eventually to a royal commission.
- Schedule 9 of the bill is an act of astounding discrimination against a most vulnerable cohort of Australians whose civil legal rights have been nullified
- This measure was not a recommendation by the royal commission
- The offer of immunity to aged care providers most of whom are ‘for profit’ and some of which are publicly listed companies – is unprecedented for what are commercial / consumer businesses
- The problem of consent has been around since before the enactment of the aged care act 1997 – and has received no attention from providers or from the department.
By Rodney Lewis