Frequently Asked Questions about the Australian Human Rights Commission’s new name and logo

5 August 2009


1. Why did we change our name?

2. What’s the short version of ‘the Australian Human Rights Commission’?

3. Is the Commission still looking at ‘equal opportunity’ issues?

4. Has our legislation and legal name changed?

5. What does the new logo mean?


1. Why did we change our name?

We changed our name to the Australian Human Rights Commission from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) for three reasons:

  • The word ‘Australian’ clarifies our role as a national human rights institution. It distinguishes us from state and territory equal opportunity commissions and discrimination boards. It also distinguishes us from human rights commissions around the world.
  • A shorter name will be more accessible and memorable for the general community. It will make it easier for us to establish a strong presence and influence on human rights with new audiences around Australia. This will help us achieve our new vision:

    Human rights: everyone, everywhere, everyday.

  • We have taken out the words 'equal opportunity' from our name because we believe that the right to ‘equal opportunity’ is part of all human rights to which everyone is entitled. By focussing on ‘human rights’ in general, we hope that our name sends a strong message about the indivisibility and universality of all human rights.

2. What’s the short version of ‘the Australian Human Rights Commission’?

We have shortened our full name in the hope that everyone will use it most of the time.

But we know that people like to use abbreviations. So the short form for the Australian Human Rights Commission is ‘the Commission’.

We will not use an acronym for the Australian Human Rights Commission. ‘AHRC’ is just as hard to remember as ‘HREOC’ so we will not use it. It is also an acronym used by other organisations.

If you are trying to distinguish us from state and territory discrimination boards and human rights commissions, we would prefer you use our full name.


3. Is the Commission still looking at ‘equal opportunity’ issues?

Yes. The right to non-discrimination is one of the most fundamental of all human rights principles. It is included in every major human rights treaty and is at the core of all of our business.

We believe that by focussing on the term ‘human rights’ we are sending a stronger message of the indivisibility and universality of all human rights. We are also reinforcing our new vision of human rights for ‘everyone, everywhere, everyday’.


4. Has our legislation and legal name changed?

Yes. The former Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission will be legally known as the Australian Human Rights Commission from 5 August 2009.

The Commission changed its operating name to the Australian Human Rights Commission last year as part of updating its corporate identity.

As of 5 August, however, the change becomes law.

The new name reflects the fact that the Commission is Australia's national human rights institution with the responsibility to protect and promote human rights throughout all Australia.

The Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act 2009 (Cth) has also changed the name of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth) to the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) and made some changes to the procedure for complaints of unlawful discrimination brought under that Act.

The amending legislation has also made a range of changes to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) that improve protections against discrimination for people with disability.


5. What does the new logo mean?

Our new logo pays homage to our old one, retaining blue tones and the seven segments which represented the seven international human rights treaties existing when we were formed in 1986. We have converted our two-dimensional circle into a three-dimensional globe.

Today there are more than seven international human rights treaties. So we now like to think that our globe of seven segments represents human rights everywhere, for everyone, every day of the week.

We also see the globe as representing the Australian Human Rights Commission as a place of inclusiveness, unity, movement and evolution.

Our new logo also includes the words ‘everyone, everywhere, everyday’. These words are taken from our overall vision as an organisation:

Human rights: everyone, everywhere, everyday