The NSW Law Reform Commission has recently issued its much awaited report on “Guardianship” in “easy read” and ordinary form.

Links to the ordinary and easy read versions are:-

https://www.lawreform.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Current-projects/Guardianship/Report/Report%20145.pdf and https://www.lawreform.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Current-projects/Guardianship/Report/Report%20145%20ER.pdf .

Regrettably, I find the report somewhat lacking, through fully admit the Commission was totally constrained by the terms of reference given to it.

My concerns with the report are:-

1. disappointment that the report can be seen as mostly recommending rebadging guardianship law with little substantive development;
2. that I am stunned by the “easy to read” version, as one of the most bemusingly paternalistic things I have ever seen, though much easier reading than the 400 page thesis which reflects an attitude in tenor, tone and content reflective of an intellectual arrogance I find breathtaking and that’s before I comment on the bureaucratese and lack of what I see as substantive reform;
3. that the report does not adequately reflect that guardianship (or representation to use the new word proposed) is only one minor step in dealing with the overall issue of elder care, as is perhaps best recognised by our Federal Government recently announcing a Royal Commission into Elder Care (Australian readers may be aware that there has, in the last two weeks, been a two part television exposé of abuse of elderly in care facilities which is attracting much attention).
4. Expressing concern at the cost of the report on a cost benefit basis and its somewhat naive, in my opinion, assumption that those in need will be supported adequately by our new National Disability Scheme [NDIS} in which everything is to be outsourced to be provided by the private sector (a belief which, from what I have seen so far of the NDIS, is specious, mainly for the reasons leading to the Royal Commission to do with abuse of the elderly by private care providers and their staff, with little or not adequate Government spot audit).