Finally! Australia Has A New Sex Discrimination Commissioner

11/02/2016 7:46 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Fairfax: Andrew Meares

The Australian Human Rights Commission has appointed Victorian lawyer Kate Jenkins as Sex Discrimination Commissioner, with President Gillian Triggs saying Jenkins will make a big difference in the space of gender equality in the workplace.

Attorney-General George Brandis and Minister for Women Michaelia Cash announced Jenkins' appointment in Canberra on Thursday.

The long-awaited appointment comes more than five months after Elizabeth Broderick -- who had an eight year tenure in the top job -- stepped down in September.

Jenkins has been the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner since 2013 and has spent two decades in the legal industry, which included being a lead partner at Herbert Smith Freehills Australia.

“She brings a wealth of expertise to the Commission, especially in employment law, and I am confident that she will continue to contribute greatly to our work in advancing gender equality in Australia," Professor Triggs said in a statement released on Thursday afternoon.

“I have admired Ms Jenkins’ leadership of the Victorian Commission over the last few years and believe that her appointment at the Federal level will enable her to promote a truly national approach to the equality of all Australians, especially in employment."

Jenkins' predecessor Elizabeth Broderick tackled many issues during her time at the helm including domestic violence, cultural reform in the defence force, the gender pay gap and women in leadership.

Broderick also formed the Male Champions of Change program, bringing together men in powerful positions -- including Australian of the Year David Morrison -- to help improve gender equality in the workplace.

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