Yesterday the Royal commission into aged care announced that Commissioner Richard Tracey passed away aged 71 in California on Friday, 11 October 2019 while receiving treatment for cancer.
His Co Commissioner, Lynelle Briggs (pictured above right from Commissioner Tracey who was visibly shaken by the news – revealed that the Commissioner had travelled to the States after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis seven weeks ago.
“It gave us all hope that he would return fit and healthy in the New Year. The news of his death was, therefore, a complete shock and absolutely shattering,” she said solemnly.
Commissioner Briggs added the Commissioner had continued to work on the Interim Report while in the US – and she maintained it would be one of his many legacies.
“It was Richard who labelled aspects of the aged care system cruel and unkind after two particularly gruelling days of evidence in Darwin and it was Richard who encouraged me to drive our policy agenda beyond change at the margin to transformative change, given the degree of substandard care that was apparent to us,” she stated.
Commissioner Tracey had been appointed as Chair of the Royal Commission in December 2018. He was previously a judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 2006 until 2018, having been appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1991.
He also served in the Australian Army from 1975 until 2014, achieving the rank of Major-General, and was Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force from 2007 until 2014.
The tributes concluded with condolences to Commissioner Tracey’s wife, Hilary, and their children – Jack (who was in the hearing room), Philip, Fiona and Rosie – and a minute’s silence for the Commissioner.
You can read the full tributes HERE.
The Interim Report will now be presented to the Governor-General on 31 October 2019.