Dr Helen Szoke will become Australia's first full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner following the appointment of The Hon Susan Ryan AO as Australia's first full-time Age Discrimination Commissioner earlier this week.
Szoke will take the reins from Graeme Innes AM, who is currently the Commissioner responsible for race discrimination. The establishment of full-time Disability and Race Discrimination Commissioners in the Australian Human Rights Commission separates these roles for the first time since 1997.
Szoke will be tasked with tackling racism and promoting greater understanding between people of different cultures and backgrounds.
"I know from my time as a State Human Rights Commissioner that equal opportunity and multiculturalism are things that we need to continue to work on and develop - it needs vigilance and continued effort to ensure that misinformation is addressed and misconceptions are challenged," said Szoke, who was previously the Commissioner with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and worked with the Commission from 2004 until August 2011.
Some of the milestones marking Szoke's time as Commissioner in Victoria include the introduction of the charter of human rights as well as the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.