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New Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.

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Media Release 105/2004

24 June 2004



The Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, today announced the appointment of Mr Tom Calma as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Mr Calma's appointment will be for a five-year term. He will also be appointed to act as the Race Discrimination Commissioner for a one-year term.

"Mr Calma has been involved in Indigenous affairs for more than thirty years," Mr Ruddock said.

"In particular, he has had considerable experience in education programs and in developing employment and training programs for Indigenous people from both a national policy and program perspective.

"He also has broad experience in public administration, having held senior positions with the Australian Public Service, with Australian overseas diplomatic missions, and as a Senior Adviser (Indigenous Affairs) in my office when I was Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.

"Mr Calma is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin.

"I am confident Mr Calma will make a valuable contribution to promoting the enjoyment and exercise of human rights in Australia.

"The Government is fully committed to ensuring the effective protection and promotion of human rights.

"The appointment of Mr Calma will greatly contribute to that work for the benefit of all

Australians," Mr Ruddock said.

Mr Calma takes up his appointment on July 12. He succeeds Dr William Jonas AM as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and acting Race Discrimination Commissioner.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Jonas for his significant contribution in these positions," Mr Ruddock said.

Media Contact: Steve Ingram Parliament House Phone: 02 6277 7300 Fax: 02 6273 4102