Appointment of new Human Rights Commissioners welcomed

Today the Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis announced the appointment of Mr Edward Santow as Human Rights Commissioner, the Hon Dr Kay Patterson as Age Discrimination Commissioner and Mr Alastair McEwin as Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Executive Director, Hugh de Kretser, welcomed the appointments saying he looked forward to the Commissioners being strong and principled human rights advocates.

“This is a great set of appointments and it’s pleasing to see the return of an open, merit-based selection process for Commissioners,” said Mr de Kretser.

Establishing a transparent, independent, public process to appoint future Commissioners was one the Human Rights Law Centre’s recommendations in its recent Safeguarding Democracy report.

Mr de Kretser said a strong functioning, independent human rights watchdog is vital to a thriving democracy.

“It’s disappointing however that the Government hasn’t provided any additional funding to the Commission given these appointments add a new full-time Commissioner position. The Commission has endured a series of significant funding cuts since 2014," said Mr de Kretser.