Today the Australian Human Rights Commission welcomes Dr Anna Cody to the Commission as Australia’s new Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
Dr Cody’s commencement as Commissioner follows the announcement of her appointment by the Federal Attorney-General in early July.
Dr Cody said: “I’m honoured to be starting in the role and I’m aware of the responsibility it holds as well as the potential for positive change. I look forward to continuing the important work of my predecessors, including Kate Jenkins and Elizabeth Broderick.
“In terms of the focus I’ll bring to the role, knowledge of the lives of diverse women and girls is important in any work on gender equality and of significance to me. I have a particular commitment to understanding and acting on the lived experience of First Nations women and girls, and women and girls from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“Domestic and family violence is an entrenched issue within Australia which prevents our society from achieving its potential. We can change this, and don’t have to accept it as a ‘norm’, so I’ll be working closely with relevant people and organisations to reduce violence against women.
“The vibrant and diverse LGBTQIA+ community face many issues which I look forward to learning about more deeply, and addressing through my work.
“Finally, I commit to continuing the implementation of the Commission’s landmark Respect@Work initiative. This will be a major focus for me and my team as we strive to ensure workplaces are safe and supportive environments for everyone. I also look forward to continuing our human rights work with the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Border Force and the Australian Federal Police, working collaboratively to create safer and fairer workplaces to strengthen these important state institutions.
“For my initial months, I’ll engage with stakeholders across the community – in legal, business, education and government sectors – to listen to their concerns, appreciate their contributions and understand their priorities in relation to addressing sex, sexuality and gender-based discrimination in Australia.
“I enjoy working collaboratively across sectors to achieve positive change and will bring this into the role of Sex Discrimination Commissioner. Together, we’ll work to improve gender, sex and sexuality equality in Australia across the diversity of our communities. With the other Commissioners and the President, I look forward to working to make Australia fairer.”
Dr Cody comes to the Commission following a distinguished career as an academic, as a lawyer specialising in discrimination and as a passionate advocate for human rights. Dr Cody was previously the Dean of the School of Law and Professor at Western Sydney University for 4.5 years, leading education and research impact within the School to better reflect the diversity of the community and the intersection of law and justice. Before this she was the Director of the Kingsford Legal Centre at the University of New South Wales, where she worked for over 20 years, providing leadership in clinical legal education, discrimination law and human rights.
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Photo by Sally Tsoutas, Western Sydney University