The Australian Human Rights Commission has announced the appointment of Giridharan Sivaraman as the new Race Discrimination Commissioner.
“We are very excited by this appointment. On behalf of the Commission, I would like to warmly welcome Giridharan Sivaraman to the role of Race Discrimination Commissioner,” said Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM.
“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 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 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.
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, while his work with Multicultural Australia oversees the continued and extensive support provided to new arrivals in Queensland. In his advocacy, he also committed to the protection and promotion of the rights of First Nations peoples.
Professor Croucher said: “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.
“There has been a marked increase in reports of racism and hate speech in recent months, and it is therefore vital that we amplify efforts to empower communities to address racism at its root causes and continue our public campaign to take action to combat racism. This is difficult but critical work to do, and Commissioner Sivaraman will lead the way in this area, as we help make Australia a more respectful and equitable place for all people, regardless of their background.”
Commissioner Sivaraman will commence his role on Monday March 4.