George Brandis declines opportunity to address bias at the Australian Human Rights Commission

I have detailed my concerns about the level of bias reflected in the operation of the Australian Human Rights Commission elsewhere in this blog. On 11 December 2014, I sent an email to the Hon George Brandis QC, Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate sharing my concerns and seeking his support:

“I write to you in your capacity as Attorney-General in which you are tasked with the oversight of the operation of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

I am deeply concerned about what I perceive to be the application of biased and inappropriate priorities with regards to, in particular, the Commission’s role in addressing gender discrimination. I have detailed these concerns in the following blog post:

http://www.fighting4fair.com/promulgating-inequality/gender-bias-at-the-australian-human-rights-commission/

I believe that this situation may require your intervention in order to ease the Commission back onto the correct track – one that sees a heightened emphasis on striving for true gender equality and with a corresponding scaling back of the emphasis placed on pursuing the ideology of gender feminism.

I would consequently appreciate you reading the linked paper and providing me with your views in relation to the matters raised therein.”

On 2 March 2015, after a further approach from me, I received the following reply:

“Thank you for your email of 11 December 2014 to the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, concerning the Australian Human Rights Commission. The Attorney-General has asked me to reply to you on his behalf.

I have noted your comments in relation to Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick and the work of the Australian Human Rights Commission. The Commission was established under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 to conciliate complaints of discrimination and provide advice to the Government on human rights issues. The Commission falls within the Attorney General’s portfolio responsibility, but it is independent from the Government.

The Australian Government supports the important role that the Commission plays in protecting and promoting human rights in Australia. That does not mean that the Government necessarily agrees with all the statements made by Commissioners, who do not speak for the Government in performing their functions. Commissioner Broderick is free to express her views, as all Australians are free to express their opinions.

If you have concerns that you wish to raise about the operations of the Australian Human Rights Commission or any of its Commissioners, you may raise these directly with the President of the Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs. Professor Triggs’ address is:

Professor Gillian Triggs President Australian Human Rights Commission GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001

The Attorney-General cannot intervene in the Commission’s handling of individual queries or complaints.

Thank you for taking the time to write about your concerns.”

Senator Brandis’ inaction is unfortunate but perhaps understandable given the currently torturous interaction between the Government and the AHRC, as detailed in the following articles:

‘A fatal perception of bias’: George Brandis admits he asked Gillian Triggs to resign (24 February 2015)

Human Rights Commission and Gillian Triggs not above reproach (27 February 2015)

Row involving Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs puts careers on the line (28 February 2015)

Opinion: Human Rights boss should be the last to cast the stone in relation to child protection (1 March 2015)

These recent developments involving Ms. Broderick’s boss suggest an entrenched culture within the Commission whereby it has become accepted that AHRC priorities shall be determined by political and ideological bias rather than on the basis of statutory responsibility alone.

** UPDATE: VIEW AND SIGN MY PETITION HERE  **

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