Wednesday, 20th May, 2020
Australian Greens Disability Rights Spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has called on the South Australian Premier to reconsider the appointment of David Caudrey to lead the task force investigating the death of Ann Marie Smith, citing “unacceptable conflicts of interest”.
“The tragic death of Ms Smith must be investigated by a truly independent task force led by disabled people, not by individuals with links to the very systems at fault,” Steele-John said.
“Unfortunately, there is no chance of an independent outcome when this task force is led by Mr Caudrey; it’s letting the fox guard the henhouse.
“Mr Caudrey has been working in various state government disability roles with direct links to the very systems that have failed Ms Smith for more than a decade,
“As Executive Director of Disability SA from 2011 to 2016, Mr Caudrey lead the very agency that funded Ms Smith’s supports until her transition to the NDIS.
“Then, as South Australia’s Disability Advocate he had direct oversight of her care under the NDIS.
“Investigating both of these institutions, their systemic failures and their role in the abuse, and ultimately the death, of Ms Smith will be a key component of the task force’s work, including potentially Mr Caudrey’s own role in both of these institutions.
“His role in this taskforce is completely untenable and he must be replaced immediately.”
South Australian Greens Disability Spokesperson Tammy Franks MLC said:
“South Australians are still reeling from what happened to Ann Marie Smith. We failed her when our systems failed her.
“While a task force is welcomed we need to make sure it has the trust of the community to do its important work. That requires absolute clarity to community that the Chair is truly independent and also does not come with the baggage of previously being a leader in shaping the broken system.”