Video captures broken public guardian system
A distraught mother stands helpless as police officers armed with public guardianship papers remove her 22-year-old daughter from her care.
“She wants me, stop, she wants her mum,” the mother cries out.
Harrowing video capturing this ordeal illustrates how broken our public guardianship system is – according to critics like Christine Dalas from the Australian Association to STOP Guardianship & Administration Abuse (AASGAA).
“If I did this and you did this, we would be in jail,” Ms Dalas told A Current Affair.
Strict laws prevent A Current Affair from identifying the mother and daughter in the video.
The mother argues her adult daughter wants to live with her and not in a group home, as per the instruction of her public guardian.
“She told me she was happy here. She was all smiles, she was always saying ‘I love you’, she wanted to be with mum,” she said.
A guardianship tribunal disagreed.
Police arrived early in the morning to whisk the deaf woman away from her mum’s home.
The mother claims the tribunal did not even ask her daughter where she wanted to live.
Aged and Disability Advocacy (ADA) boss Geoff Rowe said it’s cases like this that triggered the Disability Royal Commission.
“People with a disability often find themselves being subject to guardianship orders and those orders that often have been made without consultation with the person with the disability,” he said.
Curiously, the applicant on the deaf woman’s public guardianship order is an employee of the service provider which is now receiving NDIS funding to care for her.
Advocate Ms Dalas claims other considerations may be creeping into the system.
“These are million-dollar babies, they generate a lot of money, a lot of NDIS money and they will not let go. These service providers will fight tooth and nail to keep these poor victims under control,” she said.
A Current Affair spoke to other families who share Christine’s concerns and want to speak out.
However, Laws preventing media from identifying people under public guardianship often means their stories don’t get told.
And that’s something family members like the sister of a disabled woman under public guardianship want to change.
“We live in Australia which I thought was a country of free speech and clearly it’s not,” she said.