Message from the Commissioner
The role of Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner is to raise systemic public policy issues that impact on human rights, and seek reform at a federal level.
It is a privilege to serve and identify these challenges, and seek to remedy them.
In the first year of my term I focused on three significant projects. First, a symposium was held to identify issues affecting the rights to freedom of expression and opinion in Australia, Free Speech 2014. Second, a national consultation titled Rights & Responsibilities 2014 addressed how effectively we protect people’s human rights and freedoms in Australia. This report sets out the process and outcomes of the Rights & Responsibilities consultation.
Third, to raise the profile on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status (SOGII) issues. As the Commission’s spokesperson on SOGII issues I have assumed responsibility for human rights issues involving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) peoples. As this is a new role at the Commission, it is essential to listen to and consult with LGBTI peoples on SOGII issues across the country. To ensure the efficient use of resources, the Rights & Responsibilities 2014 consultation was held parallel to consultations on SOGII human rights. The outcome of consultations on SOGII human rights in Australia is set out in a separate report.
I would like to thank everyone who participated in this national consultation. Thank you to the staff at the Commission including Louise Bygrave, Siri May, Simone Guirguis, Lucian Tan and Alex Borowsky. I also thank the organisations that hosted public events and strategic meetings, which enabled me to meet more than 1 100 people who shared their personal experiences and professional perspectives on human rights. Everyone’s contributions – written and verbal – have been considered in this report and have informed the priorities for my term as Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner.
Human Rights Commissioner
 Australian Human Rights Commission, Free Speech 2014 Symposium Papers (7 August 2014). At http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/rights-and-freedoms/publications… (viewed 17 February 2015).