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USYD law dean to head Human Rights Commission

USYD law dean to head Human Rights Commission

Professor Gillian Triggs has been appointed president of the Australian Human Rights Commission (HRC), the Attorney General’s office announced today (29 June).

She will hold the position for five years, commencing 30 July 2012.

Professor Triggs, who is currently the University of Sydney (USYD) law school dean, told Lawyers Weekly that the role was “an unexpected opportunity”.

“I was planning to apply for another term at the University of Sydney,” she said.

“This was a wonderful opportunity, at this stage of my career, to take my international law background into the area of practice and implementation.”

Professor Triggs will step down as dean of the USYD law school and chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans before starting the new role. However, she plans to maintain a connection with the university through her work at the HRC.

She claimed her experience in the education sector will help drive a renewed effort to educate Australia’s youth in basic human rights.

Professor Triggs will also push for greater representation of international human rights law, including the treaties to which Australia is a party, in local legislation.

Attorney General Nicola Roxon said in a statement that Professor Triggs’ experience in human rights law and senior administration “equip her with the skills necessary to fulfil this important role”.

In February, former president of the HRC, Catherine Branson QC, announced her intention to leave the position in July.

Roxon thanked Branson for her hard work and dedication in leading the HRC, and for her “passionate advocacy for the rights of all Australians, particularly those most vulnerable in our society”.

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