Dreyfus to restore commission's reputation

·1-min read

Appointments to Australia's national human rights institution will be overhauled as part of the federal government's commitment to restore its independence, legitimacy and international credibility.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus introduced a proposal to legislate a merit-based and transparent appointments process for the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The independent agency - tasked with protecting and promoting human rights in Australia and internationally - lost its 'A'-status accreditation in March due to questionable processes to appoint commissioners.

"The sub-committee's primary concern was three direct commissioner appointments that were made to the Human Rights Commission without a merit-based and transparent selection process," Mr Dreyfus told parliament on Tuesday.

Under the government's amendments, the minister in charge must be satisfied the selection of the appointee resulted from a merit-based selection process that was publicly advertised, he said.

Maximum terms of seven years for all commissioners will also be introduced.

Mr Dreyfus said the proposal is the first step to support the commission's international re-accreditation.

"An independent Human Rights Commission is fundamental to Australia's human rights agenda - both internationally and domestically," he said.

"This bill re-affirms and supports the government's broad commitment to restoring integrity to government, as well as our commitments to the international rules-based order."

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