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About the Commission - Annual Report 2009-2010: Australian Human Rights Commission

About the Commission

Our vision

Human rights: everyone, everywhere, everyday.

Our mission

Lead the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia by:

  • making human rights values part of everyday life and language
  • empowering all people to understand and exercise their human rights
  • working with individuals, community, business and government to inspire action
  • keeping government accountable to national and international human rights standards
  • securing an Australian charter of rights.

We do this by:

  • listening, learning, communicating and educating
  • being open, expert, committed and impartial
  • fostering a collaborative, diverse, flexible, respectful and innovative workplace.

What we do

Established in 1986, the Australian Human Rights Commission is a statutory organisation that exercises functions under federal laws that govern age, disability, racial and sex discrimination and human rights and equal opportunity.

We also have responsibilities under the Native Title Act 1993 and the Fair Work Act 1996 and are responsible for a number of human right agreements that have been ratified by Australia.

These include the:

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Declaration of the Rights of the Child
  • Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons
  • Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons
  • Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

Outcome structure

The Commission has one outcome on which it is bound to report:

  • An Australian society in which the human rights of all are respected, protected and promoted.

There is one output for the Commission’s outcome:

  • Australians have access to independent human rights complaint handling and public inquiries processes and benefit from human rights education, promotion and monitoring and compliance activities.

How we work


Human rights everyone, everywhere, everyday

  • Setting and advancing national agendas
  • Building human rights into law and practice
  • Monitoring and reporting
  • Resolving discrimination and human rights complaints
  • Working in the international arena to improve human rights

    • Building understanding and respect for rights

      • Tackling violence, harassment and bullying

Five strategic goals


We exercise a leadership role in human rights in Australia by being visible, courageous and influential on human rights issues.


We support and inspire others to engage in meaningful activity on human rights.


We help all people in Australia to understand and exercise their rights and respect the rights of others.


We hold individuals, organisations and government responsible for their human rights obligations.


We have a collaborative, innovative and supportive work culture that enhances the quality and impact of our work.

Organisational chart

The Commission is a national independent statutory body established under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986. The positions of President and five Commissioners are currently held by four people.