Perth lawyer to be new Human Rights Commissioner

Ian Bushnell 7 September 2021 6
Lorraine Finlay

Lorraine Finlay will take up the role of new Human Rights Commissioner in November 2021. Photo: Murdoch University.

Perth lawyer and academic Lorraine Finlay has been appointed to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and will take up the Canberra-based role in November 2021.

The AHRC welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to fill the role of Human Rights Commissioner, which it said is a foundational one to the Commission.

AHRC president Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher said the Commission looks forward to welcoming Ms Finlay to the role at the commencement of her term on 22 November.

Ms Finlay will bring to the role her experience as a lecturer in law at Murdoch University, which includes teaching within the International Human Rights Law Program in Geneva.

She has also worked as a senior human trafficking specialist with the Australian Mission to ASEAN, and as a State Prosecutor at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Western Australia.

Ms Finlay said she is honoured to be appointed as the Human Rights Commissioner and is looking forward to building on the substantial contributions made by her predecessors in the role.

Her research interests include criminal law, constitutional law, human rights law and public international law.


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Ms Finlay will replace Edward Santow, who will take up a professorship at the University of Technology Sydney in September.

Mr Santow was appointed as Human Rights Commissioner in August 2016, bringing to the role his experience as chief executive of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, a senior lecturer at UNSW Law School, and research director at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law.


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6 Responses to Perth lawyer to be new Human Rights Commissioner
Futureproof Futureproof 4:15 pm 07 Sep 21

Another appointment as useless as the ACCC commissioner or KRudd’s Petrol Commissioner

Deborah Pino Pasternak Deborah Pino Pasternak 4:11 pm 07 Sep 21

Congratulations Lorraine!

hgo7627 hgo7627 1:35 pm 07 Sep 21

The Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, was scathing about this appointment on radio today. This is what she said:

“Yesterday Scott stated the bleeding obvious about gender inequality…

Platitudes already disproven by appointing a Human Rights Commissioner who opposes affirmative consent and publicly supported the commentator who platformed my twice-convicted abuser.”

Apparently the new HR Commissioner is also keen to deal with s.18c of the HR legislation.

Oh dear …

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:40 pm 07 Sep 21

    I suppose we should be thankful that Grace Tame wasn’t appointed to the HR Commissioner position as well as being Activist of The Year.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:52 am 07 Sep 21

I wasn’t aware we had such a person/position. I’ve certainly have never heard of the incumbent Edward Santow which raises the question, what does this office do and is it really necessary?

Katy Did Katy Did 9:17 am 07 Sep 21

I hope she is sensible

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