The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has appointed Indian-origin Giridharan Sivaraman as the new Race Discrimination Commissioner.
Mr Sivaraman is currently the Chair of Multicultural Australia, and a Principal Lawyer at Maurice Blackburn where he is head of the firm’s Queensland Employment Law department.
He tweeted: “I’m honoured to be appointed Commonwealth Race Discrimination Commissioner. And excited, and slightly terrified!”
Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, said in a statement:
“For decades, the fight for systemic equality and speaking truth to power have been at the heart of Mr Sivaraman’s work. His distinguished legal career has seen him lead significant cases in workplace and discrimination law, which, coupled with his public advocacy for the rights for racially marginalised communities, has led to tangible results that have improved and empowered people’s lives.”
Mr Sivaraman has run numerous state and national race discrimination cases and led the pro bono compensation scheme for underpaid 7-Eleven workers, many of whom came from migrant backgrounds.
Professor Croucher added that Mr Sivaraman is a widely respected champion of racial equity.
“His lived experience, passion for diversity and inclusion, and deep understanding of human rights and Australian discrimination law means he will be a powerful asset for the Commission during what is very much a delicate time in the country.”
Earlier, as a member of the Queensland Multicultural Advisory Council, Mr Sivaraman appeared at a state parliamentary inquiry to demand legal reform to better protect the rights of victims of racial vilification.
Mr Sivaraman’s work with Multicultural Australia oversees the continued and extensive support provided to new arrivals in Queensland.
In his advocacy, Mr Sivaraman is also committed to the protection and promotion of the rights of First Nations peoples.
The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory organisation, established by an act of Federal Parliament. Commissioner Sivaraman will commence his role on Monday, 4 March 2024.
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