Merit-based appointment process for Human Rights Commission is imperative: legislation welcome

28th Jul 2022

Proposed legislation which will ensure appointments to the Australian Human Rights Commission are made through a merit-based, transparent process is very welcome, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

The Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Amendment (Selection and Appointment) Bill 2022 was introduced into Parliament yesterday by the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC.

“To maintain the credibility of the Australian Human Rights Commission, it is essential that a public, transparent and merit-based selection process for senior members of the Commission is legislated,” said Ms Genevieve Henderson, National President, ALA.

“Australia’s international human rights reputation was being undermined by processes that lacked transparency and resulted in a return by the previous Government to hand-picked appointments for critical positions within the Commission.

“This move is a step in the right direction for the new Government and we are hopeful that it reflects a genuine commitment to integrity, inclusivity and transparency.”

Numerous human rights organisations, including the ALA, have been urging the Government to mandate a legislated appointment process for all senior leadership roles within the Australian Human Rights Commission.

“We commend the Attorney-General on his decision to introduce this Bill.  A public selection process will ensure broader participation and ensure the best quality candidates are considered for senior roles at the Commission,” said Ms Henderson.

“This will also help to maintain public confidence in the Human Rights Commission as a fearless, independent agency that holds government to account for human rights compliance.”

Tags: Human rights