The Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis has announced the appointment of Dr Kay Patterson (pictured) as the new Age Discrimination Commissioner. Dr Patterson will replace outgoing Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan when she steps down in August 2016.
Dr Patterson, a former Cabinet minister, senator and academic, is currently the Commissioner of the National Mental Health Commission. She is also a psychologist and advocate for older Australians.
Dr Kay Patterson was elected to the Australian Senate in 1987. Kay served on a number of Senate committees and in Government was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 2001, she was appointed to Cabinet as Minister for Health and Ageing and in October 2003 Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues. She retired from Cabinet in 2006 and from the Senate in June 2008.
Prior to entering the Senate, she managed a small business before attending the University of Sydney and then Monash University where she was awarded a PhD in Psychology. Kay taught at Sydney and Monash Universities and held senior academic positions including Chairman of the School of Behavioural Sciences at the Lincoln Institute (now at LaTrobe University).
Senator George Brandis also announced the appointment of a new Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner.
Edward Santow will replace Tim Wilson as Human Rights Commissioner. Tim Wilson resigned last month and will stand as the Liberal candidate in the the safe Liberal seat of Goldstein in the upcoming federal election on 2 July 2016.
Currently CEO of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Mr Santow said he will focus on the nation’s “not very glamorous” human rights crises. As Human Rights Commissioner, he will focus on the “national tragedy” of Australia’s 100,000 homeless and disadvantaged Australians who are deprived of essential services such as energy and water.
Former CEO of People with Disability Australia and manager of the Australian Centre for Disability Law, Alistair McEwin, has been appointed to the position of Disability Discrimination Commissioner. Mr McEwin, who is profoundly deaf, will replace Susan Ryan, who has been juggling the role of Disability Discrimination Commissioner along with her duties as Age Discrimination Commissioner, for almost two years.