Appointment of Mr Timothy Wilson as Human Rights Commissioner

17 December 2013

Cabinet yesterday decided to recommend to her Excellency the Governor-General the appointment of Mr Timothy Wilson as Australia’s new Human Rights Commissioner.

Mr Wilson, who has for the past seven years been a Policy Director at the Institute of Public Affairs, is one of Australia’s most prominent public advocates of the rights of the individual.

He has published and broadcast widely on the topics of personal freedom, liberal democratic values and the rule of law. He was at the forefront in thwarting recent attempts to erode freedom of speech, freedom of the press and artistic freedom – rights and freedoms Australians have always held precious.

The appointment of Mr Wilson to this important position will help to restore balance to the Australian Human Rights Commission which, during the period of the Labor government, had become increasingly narrow and selective in its view of human rights.

During the election campaign, I promised to create at least one “Freedom Commissioner” at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Next year, I intend to bring forward reforms to the Commission. In the meantime, I have asked Mr Wilson to focus on the protection of the traditional liberal democratic and common law rights, including, in particular, the rights recognised by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Mr Wilson’s extensive background as a public policy intellectual, his skill as an advocate and his courage as a human rights champion make him superbly equipped to be Australia’s new Human Rights Commissioner.