Sex Discrimination Commissioner
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The Sex Discrimination Commissioner is an Australian federal government position established to oversee the operation of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. The position was created alongside the Act as one of the specialist commissioners of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. The commissioner also has an educative role, frequently called upon to comment upon gender issues in the workforce.
The role was created with the Act in 1984, with the Hawke government appointing Pamela O'Neil, a Labor MLA from the Northern Territory, as the first commissioner. She was replaced in 1988 by Quentin Bryce, who became Australia's first female Governor-General in 2008. The fate of the position appeared unclear in the late 1990s, as Susan Halliday, the then-Commissioner, repeatedly came into conflict with the Howard Liberal government, despite being a Liberal appointee. Halliday's angry resignation in 2001 led to speculation that the office may be disbanded; Pru Goward, a close personal friend of Howard, was instead appointed as her replacement. Goward resigned in late 2006 in order to run for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, and was replaced in mid-2007 by lawyer Elizabeth Broderick, a former partner with Blake Dawson.
List of Sex Discrimination Commissioners
- Pamela O'Neil (1984–1988)
- Quentin Bryce (1988–1993)
- Sue Walpole (1993–1997)
- Susan Halliday (1998–2001)
- Pru Goward (2001–2006)
- Elizabeth Broderick (2007–present)