THE Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) has legally changed its name to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The name change was made last year, but as of yesterday the new corporate identity of the commission was made law.
The commission changed its official title for three main reasons: The inclusion of the word 'Australian' clarifies its role as a national human rights institution and it distinguishes it from state and territory equal opportunity commissions and discrimination boards. It also distinguishes it from other human rights commissions around the world.
A shorter name is more accessible and memorable for the general community, and is expected to make it easier for the commission to establish a strong presence and influence with audiences.
The commission claims it has taken out the words 'equal opportunity' from the title because it considers the right to 'equal opportunity' to be part of all human rights.
With the legal change of the name, the commission has also introduced a new logo and motto. Human rights: everyone, everywhere, everyday.
While the new logo pays homage to the existing one by retaining blue tones and the seven segments, which represented the seven international human rights treaties existing when it was first formed in 1986. But the two-dimensional circle has been converted into a three-dimensional globe.
When abbreviating the new name, the commission is steering away from the acronyms, which it formerly used as 'AHRC' is just as hard to remember as 'HREOC' and it is already used by other organisations.
The Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act 2009 (Cth) has also changed the name of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth) to the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) and made some changes to the procedure for complaints of unlawful discrimination brought under that Act.