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Australian Human Rights Commission

The Australian Human Rights Commission is Australia's national human rights institution. The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory authority, established under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986. The commission has a range of duties, functions and powers with respect to human rights, including undertaking inquiries, intervening in court proceedings, examining enactments and conducting educational programs and public awareness campaigns. It is accredited as an A-status national institution under the Principles Relating to the Status of National Institutions (the Paris Principles).

The Australian Human Rights Commission also has the power to investigate and attempt to conciliate complaints of unlawful discrimination under Australia's anti-discrimination legislation. If you believe you have been unlawfully discriminated against, you may wish to consider lodging a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission. If the conciliation is unsuccessful, in certain circumstances, you may commence legal proceedings regarding the complaint in the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit and Family Court.

Further information about the commission can be found on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

The Paris Principles and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions

The Paris Principles set out the responsibilities, composition and framework of national human rights institutions. These are minimum standards that a national human rights institution, such as the Commission, must meet in order to operate efficiently and be considered credible by its peers and within the United Nations system.

The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has a mandate to review and assess whether national human rights institutions comply with the Paris Principles, and accordingly decide whether that institution should be accredited as an ‘A’-status or ‘B’-status institution. GANHRI has the mandate to review and analyse the accreditation of national human rights institutions every 5 years. Following the initial accreditation process, and any subsequent reaccreditation review, ‘A’-status or ‘B’-status is granted alongside a list of recommendations that outline what improvements could be made to increase compliance with the Paris Principles. A key requirement of the Paris Principles is ensuring that the process for appointment of statutory officers to the commission, as Australia’s national human rights institution, is transparent and merit-based in all circumstances.

We have developed bespoke appointment guidelines setting out the process for the appointment of the president and commissioners of the commission. The guidelines are adapted from the government’s Merit and Transparency Guidelines. The guidelines are designed to be read in conjunction with provisions of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986, Age Discrimination Act 2004, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

The government released draft guidelines for consultation from 26 July 2023 to 22 August 2023. The guidelines have now been finalised.

Read the guidelines

Statutory appointments to the commission

Name Role Date of Appointment Expiration of Appointment
Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM President 30 July 2017 29 July 2024
Ms Katie Kiss Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner 3 April 2024 2 April 2029
Mr Robert Fitzgerald AM Age Discrimination Commissioner 2 April 2024 1 April 2029
Ms Rosemary Kayess Disability Discrimination Commissioner 29 January 2024 28 January 2029
Ms Lorraine Finlay Human Rights Commissioner 22 November 2021 21 November 2026
Ms Anne Hollonds National Children’s Commissioner 2 November 2020 1 November 2025
Mr Giridharan Sivaraman Race Discrimination Commissioner  4 March 2024 3 March 2029
Dr Anna Cody Sex Discrimination Commissioner 4 September 2023 3 September 2028