Australian Human Rights Commission


Australian Human Rights Commission

The Australian Human Rights Commission (previously the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) is a national independent statutory body of the Australian Government. It has the responsibility for investigating alleged infringements under Australia’s anti-discrimination legislation. According to its website, matters that can be investigated by the Commission include "discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin, racial vilification, sex, sexual harassment, marital status, pregnancy, or disability." The Commission falls under the portfolio of the Attorney-General of Australia.

Commission Presidents

*The Hon. Catherine Branson (current)
*The Hon. John von Doussa 2003 - 2008
*Professor Alice Tay 1998 - 2003
*Sir Ronald Wilson 1990 - 1998
*Hon. Justice Marcus Einfeld 1986 - 1990

Legislation

The Commission investigates alleged infringements under the following legislation:
*"Racial Discrimination Act 1975"
*"Sex Discrimination Act 1984"
*"Disability Discrimination Act 1992"
*"Age Discrimination Act 2004"
*"Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986"

Public inquiries

One of the more visible functions of the Commission is to conduct public inquiries. Some examples of inquires conducted include:
*Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Inquiry into financial and workplace discrimination against same-sex couples
*Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families
*National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention
*Homeless Children Inquiry
*Pregnancy Discrimination Inquiry
*Inquiry into the Accessibility of electronic commerce and new service and information technologies for older Australians and people with a disability
*Inquiry into Human Rights and Good Governance Education in the Asia Pacific Region
*MacLennan-Hookham suspension

Gender identity and sexuality

Private members, the Australian Greens and the Australian Democrats have tried to add sexuality and/or gender identity to the list of matters that can be investigated by the Commission, which has always failed to pass at least one house of parliament since 1995 and even today, because of a lack of support from the Australian Labor Party and the Coalition in the federal parliament. [ [http://www.democrats.org.au/news/index.htm?press_id=5948&display=1 Australian DemocratsAustralian Democrats Press Releases ] ]

Human Rights Medal and Awards

Since 1987 the prestigious "Human Rights Medal" and other awards have been presented at the Commission’s annual Human Rights Medal and Awards ceremony.

The Human Rights Medal is awarded to individuals for their outstanding contribution to human rights in Australia.

Other awards are:
*Human Rights Community (Individual) Award
*Human Rights Community (Organisation) Award
*Human Rights Radio Award
*Human Rights Television Award
*Human Rights Print Media Award
*Human Rights Arts Non-Fiction Award
*Human Rights Law Award - sponsored by the Law Council of Australia

References

External links

* [http://www.humanrights.gov.au The Australian Human Rights Commission website]


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