May 29, 2014

The Attorney-General’s appointment of his friend Tim Wilson as ‘Freedom Commissioner’ has come at the cost of a full-time commissioner to defend and further the rights of people with disability. This is a gross injustice and yet another example of the Abbott Government’s twisted priorities.

“The Government’s decision to cut a full time Disability Discrimination Commissioner is disgraceful”, said Shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus.

“Senator Brandis publicly attacked Mr Innes for his advocacy for Australians with disability when he was in opposition.”

“Mr Innes has been a strong and passionate advocate for Australians with disability. But rather than come clean and abolish the position upfront, Senator Brandis has hidden behind the claim he is simply reducing the number of Human Rights Commissioners.”

“The loss of Graeme Innes as our nation’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner means that people with disability and their families across Australia have lost the protection of one of their strongest and most experienced advocates, said Shadow Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin.

“At a time when the National Disability Insurance Scheme is rolling out, it is more important than ever for there to be a Commissioner devoted to those the scheme is assisting.”

In Senate Estimates today it was revealed that the highest area of complaints to the Commission concerned disability discrimination issues, yet there will no longer be a dedicated advocate with the experience of Graeme Innes to represent them.

“While Senator Brandis rang Tim Wilson to offer him the $332,000 role, he did not have the decency to contact Commissioner Innes about the non-renewal of his contract” said Senator Singh.


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