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APS Human Rights Network

Friday 14 December, 2012

The Network

The APS Human Rights Network supports the people working in the Australian Public Service (APS) to discuss how human rights relate to their work. The Network is intended for all levels of officers across all sectors of the APS.

The Network was launched in September 2011, and now has over 700 members. The Network meets approximately three times a year to discuss contemporary human rights issues.

Interested in joining the network? Please send your name, your position, your department or agency, phone number and email address to

Human rights resources for the APS

The following resources are helpful for all APS officers:

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Human rights at your fingertips

This pocket guide provides APS officers with quick reference to Australia’s human rights obligations.

Further resources are available on the AGD website – including booklets, guidance sheets and tools for assessing human rights compatibility

Past events

The Australian Public Service and Human Rights

The Australian Public Service and Human Rights

2 November 2015

This event, co-hosted with the Attorney General’s Department, examined the roles and responsibilities of public servants in relation to the APS Values and Code of Conduct; development of robust policy, legislation and programs for Government; and understanding the role of the Parliament – including in human rights scrutiny.

Speakers included Professor Gillian Triggs – President, Australian Human Rights Commission, Stephanie Foster PSM, Deputy Commissioner, Australian Public Service Commission, Greg Manning – Acting Deputy Secretary, Attorney General’s Department.

Read the speech by President Gillian Triggs
Read the speech by Stephanie Foster PSM
Read the speech by Greg Manning


Race, Multiculturalism and the Constitution

23 June 2015

2015 marked the 40th Anniversary of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth). This event explored race in Australia in 2015 and was held in partnership with the Department of Social Services.

The events speakers included, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission, Joseph Caputo OAM, Chair, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) and Tanya Hosch – Joint Campaign Director, Recognise.

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How the public service can champion child rights
11 February 2015

This event explored the importance of children’s rights to the work of public servants.

Speakers included Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner; Dr Tim Moore, Australian Catholic University and youth representative Jacqui Frost. The event was jointly hosted by the Department of Social Services and chaired by Phillip Brown, Acting Group Manager, Families.

Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson

Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson

APS Human Rights Network event on new LGBTI discrimination protections
7 April 2014

This event provided an overview of new federal discrimination protections for sexual orientation, gender identify and intersex status under the Sex Discrimination Act.

Co-hosted by the Attorney-General’s Department, the event’s speakers included Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, Deputy Director of Investigation and Conciliation at the Australian Human Rights Commission Jodie Ball, community representative Peter Hyndal and Deputy Secretary of the Civil Justice and Legal Services Group Attorney General’s Department David Fredericks.


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Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan

Access all areas: How to really reach your older stakeholders
23 October 2013

This event explored the accessibility of information for older stakeholders and provided guidance on how access to information can be improved.

Speakers included Kathryn Campbell, Secretary of the Department of Human Services; The Hon Susan Ryan AO, Age Discrimination Commissioner; and Helen L’Orange AM FAICD of the Waverton Hub.

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Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes

Celebrating 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act – Twenty Years: Twenty Stories
26 June 2013

This event showcased Twenty Years: Twenty Stories– a film project that commemorates the 20th Anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act. 

The event was jointly hosted by Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes AM,  ACT Disability and Community Services Commissioner Mary Durkin, and ACT Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Watchirs OAM.

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Mick Gooda, Henry Burmester, Misha Schubert, Brian Stacey

APS Human Rights Network event on constitutional recognition
9 April 2013

This meeting of the Network, co-hosted with FaHCSIA, explored the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. 

Speakers included Mick Gooda, Henry Burmester, Member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition; Misha Schubert, Communications Director of the Recognise campaign; and Brian Stacey, Group Manager, Indigenous Engagement and Remote Delivery Group, FaHCSIA.

Find out more about constitutional recognition

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Commission President Gillian Triggs,
Harry Jenkins MP, Mark Ney, Australian Federal Police

Launch of the APS human rights resources
20 October 2012

This meeting of the Network, co-hosted with the Attorney General’s Department, provided tools and guidance to help APS Officers integrate human rights into their everyday work. These tools included:

Read the speech by President Gillian Triggs
Read the speech by Harry Jenkins MP

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Kerrie Tim, Graeme Innes, Sam Palmer, Maurice Corcoran

Celebrating Ability: Addressing disability rights in public policy
31 May 2012

Co-hosted with the Australian Public Service Commission with support provided by the Attorney-General’s Department, this event followed the launch of the As One – APS Disability Employment Strategy.

Listen to the audio recording and read the transcript
Read Commissioner Innes’s speech

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Padma Raman, Alison Larkins, Cate McKenzie,
Marie Coleman, Elizabeth Broderick

Mainstreaming gender equality and women’s rights in public policy
9 March 2012

Co-hosted with the Attorney-General’s Department the first meeting for 2012 was held on 9 March to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Read Commissioner Broderick’s speech