Just 16 months into her five-year tenure as our first ever full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke has announced she’s leaving the post in order to take up the role of Chief Executive with Oxfam.
Szoke was appointed Australian Race Commissioner in September 2011 where she’s been responsible for developing Australia’s first National Anti-Racism Strategy campaign — Racism: It Stops With Me. She’s previously served long stints with the Australian Human Rights Commission, and worked as a commissioner with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and co-chair of the Management Committee of Play by the Rules.
In October she released the Commission’s Principles to promote and protect the human rights of international students, expounding guidelines to ensure the safety and protection of overseas students working and studying in Australia.
In a press release announcing her resignation today, Australian Human Rights Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs acknowledged Szoke for her passionate activism in working towards creating racial equality in Australia.
She said Szoke had contributed a great deal to the Commission’s work in countering racism.
In 2011, Szoke was awarded the Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Award for contribution to Human Rights.