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Commission welcomes passage of new Bill to strengthen its independence

Commission – General
Content type: Media Release

The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed the passage in the Senate today of the Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Amendment (Selection and Appointment) Bill 2022.

The Bill ensures Commissioner appointments are publicly advertised and subject to an open, transparent and merit-based process, in line with our international commitments. 

It removes the possibility of direct appointments. It also establishes that the total term of appointment of Commissioners, including any reappointments, should not exceed seven years. 

The Bill will be enacted the day after presentation to the Governor-General for assent. 

Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM said, "I commend Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and his team for their work in drafting the new legislation and guiding its passage through both chambers of the Australian Parliament. 

"This Bill will help ensure the integrity and independence of the Commission is strengthened and that it meets global standards for independence."

The previous appointment process had been criticised by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).

The Commission underwent its five-yearly GANHRI accreditation review in 2022. The decision whether to renew Australia's A-Status accreditation was deferred until October 2023 to provide the Australian Government time to address deficiencies in the appointments process for commissioners. 

"We now look forward to reporting back to GANHRI next year on this legislative outcome along with supporting policy guidance which hopefully will secure our A-Status accreditation," Professor Croucher said. 

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