At its hearing in Melbourne this morning, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety marked the passing of the Honourable Richard Tracey AM RFD QC. Commissioner Tracey died on Friday, 11 October, after a short illness. He was 71.
Commissioner Tracey was appointed Chair of the Royal Commission on 6 December 2018. He was a judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 2006 until 2018, having been appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1991. He served in the Australian Army from 1975 until 2014, achieving the rank of Major-General. He was Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force from 2007 until 2014, and President of the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal from 2009 until 2018.
Commissioner Lynelle Briggs AO said that “[Commissioner Tracey] was experienced. He was wise. He was admired. He knew the law like the back of his hand. He was prepared to take a punt if it meant we got the best outcome.”
“His kind words to our witnesses after their presentations gave them comfort and let them know that they had been heard. His gentle guidance and direction to Royal Commission staff always helped, and made our collective lives so much easier.”
The new Chair of the Royal Commission, the Honourable Tony Pagone QC, said of Commissioner Tracey that “[h]is work on this Commission has … been solid, selfless and significant”.
Mr Peter Rozen QC, Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, described Commissioner Tracey as “[a] fundamentally decent human being whose passing is keenly felt by the Counsel Assisting, Office of Solicitor Assisting teams and all staff of the Aged Care Royal Commission”.
The Commissioners gave their condolences to Commissioner Tracey’s wife, Hilary, and their children: Jack, Philip, Fiona and Rosie.
Commissioner Tracey had, with Commissioner Briggs, finalised the text of the Royal Commission’s Interim Report in late September. The Interim Report will be presented to the Governor-General on 31 October 2019.