The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has again focussed attention on the failings of the Australian aged care system. Residential aged care in Australia has become increasingly market-driven since the major reforms of 1997. The aims of increased marketisation include providing residents with greater choice, higher quality services, and increasing providers’ efficiency and innovation. However, marketisation is not meeting these aims, predominantly due to asymmetries of knowledge and power between residents and aged care providers. These asymmetries arise from inadequate provision of information, geographic disparities, urgency for care as needs arise acutely, and issues surrounding safety, including cultural safety. We propose a human rights framework, supported by responsive regulation, to overcome the failings of the current system and deliver an improved aged care system which is fit for purpose.