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Breaking Barrier: The Significance of Appointing a Disability Discrimination Commissioner


I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Rosemary Kayess as Australia’s next Disability Discrimination Commissioner.


The Disability Discrimination Commissioner protects the rights of people with disability in Australia and promotes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Ms Kayess’ five year full-time appointment will commence on 29 January 2024, filling the vacancy resulting from the appointment of the former Commissioner, Dr Ben Gauntlett, to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Ms Kayess is an accomplished human rights lawyer, academic and practitioner with an expert understanding of Australian anti-discrimination law and international human rights frameworks. She has extensive practical legal experience advising on disability discrimination law, including utilising the disability discrimination complaints mechanism of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

I congratulate Ms Kayess on her appointment and thank her for taking on this important role. I also take this opportunity to thank Dr Gauntlett for his significant contribution during his term, and Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, President of the AHRC, for acting in the role throughout the merit-based selection process.

For more information about the work of the AHRC including Disability Rights, visit Australian Human Rights Commission / Our Work / Disability Rights.

Biography

Ms Kayess holds a Bachelor of Social Science, Bachelor of Laws and an Honorary Doctorate in Law. She is a Senior Lecturer with the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Vice Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ms Kayess also holds the roles of Senior Research Fellow, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW and Visiting Professor, Centre for Disability, Law and Policy, University of Galway. Ms Kayess is a current and former member of a number of disability focused councils and committees. Current memberships include the Chair of the Australian Centre of the Disability Law; Expert Member, NSW Aging and Disability Commission Advisory Board and Member, Australian Discrimination Law Experts Group. Former memberships include the Strategic Engagement Reference Group for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

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