Rosemary Kayess appointed new Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Human rights lawyer and disability rights advocate Rosemary Kayess is Australia’s next Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

Rosemary Kayess

Ms Kayess’ five‑year appointment starts on January 29, filling the vacancy left by Dr Ben Gauntlett, who was appointed Deputy Commissioner to the National Anti-Corruption Commission in March.

In her new role Ms Kayess will be charged with protecting the rights of people with disability and promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Announcing the appointment on Tuesday, Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said Ms Kayess had an expert understanding of Australian anti-discrimination law and international human rights frameworks.

“She has extensive practical legal experience advising on disability discrimination law, including utilising the disability discrimination complaints mechanism of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC),” Mr Dreyfus said in a statement.

“I congratulate Ms Kayess on her appointment and thank her for taking on this important role.”

Ms Kayess is a Senior Lecturer with the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Vice Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

She is a current and former member of a number of disability focused councils and committees and was a member of the Strategic Engagement Reference Group for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

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