3.1          In this chapter the ALRC recommends a set of National Decision-Making Principles and accompanying Guidelines to provide the first part of the modelling in Commonwealth laws required under the Terms of Reference for this Inquiry. These Principles should guide reform of Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks and the review of state and territory laws.

3.2          The National Decision-Making Principles identify four central ideas in all recent law reform work on capacity. These are that:

  • everyone has an equal right to make decisions and to have their decisions respected;
  • persons who need support should be given access to the support they need in decision-making;
  • a person’s will and preferences must direct decisions that affect their lives; and
  • there must be appropriate and effective safeguards in relation to interventions for persons who may require decision-making support.

3.3          The Principles reflect the paradigm shift signalled in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities[1] (CRPD) to recognise people with disabilities as persons before the law and their right to make choices for themselves.

3.4          The emphasis is on the autonomy and independence of persons with disability who may require support in making decisions—their will and preferences must drive decisions that they are supported in making, and that others may make on their behalf. The National Decision-Making Principles provide a conceptual overlay, consistent with the CRPD, for a Commonwealth decision-making model that encourages supported decision-making.