Feds Formally Appoint Full Time Race Discrimination Commissioner
4 August 2011 at 11:56 am
The Federal Government has formally appointed Dr Helen Szoke as Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner in a full-time role.
Dr Szoke is Victoria's out-going equal opportunity and human rights commissioner.
Earlier this week Dr Szoke resigned from the Victorian post three years into the job but insists her relationship with the new Victorian Liberal Coalition Government did not influence her decision to leave.
The Federal appointment separates, for the first time since 1997, the roles of Disability and Race Discrimination Commissioners in the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Graeme Innes has filled race discrimination position in addition to his role as Disability Discrimination Commissioner since 2009.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland says that for the first time in 13 years, Australia will have now have a stand-alone Race Discrimination Commissioner.
McClelland says both racial discrimination and disability discrimination are serious issues that deserve to receive the attention of specific commissioners.
Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Kate Lundy says appointing a full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner will strengthen the implementation of the Government's National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy.
Dr Szoke has been a leader on multiculturalism, racial and religious tolerance and human rights issues.
She has been with the Victorian Commission since 2004 and was previously its Chief Executive Officer and Chief Conciliator until her current appointment in 2009.
She has served as a director of Adult Multicultural Education Services, is a board member of Multicultural Arts Victoria and has performed senior advisory roles on government and community health, and education.