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About the Commission - Annual Report 2009-2010: Australian Human Rights Commission

About the Commission

Our vision

Human rights: everyone, everywhere, everyday.

Our mission

Lead the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia by:

  • making human rights values part of everyday life and language
  • empowering all people to understand and exercise their human rights
  • working with individuals, community, business and government to inspire action
  • keeping government accountable to national and international human rights standards
  • securing an Australian charter of rights.

We do this by:

  • listening, learning, communicating and educating
  • being open, expert, committed and impartial
  • fostering a collaborative, diverse, flexible, respectful and innovative workplace.

Our functions

Established in 1986, the Commission is a statutory organisation that exercises functions under the:

  • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986
  • Age Discrimination Act 2004
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984

We have statutory responsibilities under these laws, including to investigate and conciliate complaints of alleged discrimination and breaches of human rights recognised under international conventions to which Australia is a party and to promote and protect these human rights generally.

We also have responsibilities under the Native Title Act 1993 and the Fair Work Act 1996.

More detailed information on our functions is available at Appendix 2 and our organisational chart is available at Appendix 3.

Outcome structure

The Commission has one outcome on which it is bound to report:

  • An Australian society in which the human rights of all are respected, protected and promoted.

There is one output for the Commission’s outcome:

  • Australians have access to independent human rights complaint handling and public inquiries processes and benefit from human rights education, promotion and monitoring and compliance activities.

Our work

We regularly review the human rights situation in Australia to determine where we can take practical action and make a positive difference.

We do this by listening to different groups and communities, undertaking research, analysing the complaints we receive and talking with our partner organisations.

This coordinated approach helps us identify emerging issues and develop integrated and strategic responses.

Between 2010 and 2012, we are prioritising work that:

  • builds understanding and respect for human rights
  • tackles violence, harassment and bullying.

The work we do is guided by five strategic goals

  • Leadership
  • Empowerment
  • Education
  • Monitoring
  • Innovation
  • tackles violence, harassment and bullying.

Organisational chart

The Commission is a national independent statutory body established under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986.

In 2010-11, the positions of President and five Commissioners were held by four people.