The federal government has gazumped a Labor policy announcement by moving to appoint a new disability discrimination commissioner.
Federal cabinet has agreed to appoint a full-time commissioner to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, reversing a 2014 decision to abolish the role, which was absorbed into the age discrimination commissioner’s job.
It is understood the appointment will be announced next week.
The government has been facing pressure from advocates who argued disability-related complaints formed the Australian Human Rights Commission’s biggest caseload.
On Thursday Labor announced it would reinstate a full-time commissioner in government, but that would involve scrapping the position held by former human rights commissioner Tim Wilson.
“Pleased that the govt has again followed Labor’s lead and announced a f/t disability commissioner, straight after our announcement today,” the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, tweeted on Thursday.
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It’s not uncommon for commissioners to serve dual roles: Graeme Innes, who was disability commissioner, also served as rights and race discrimination commissioner for two years.