Tim Wilson as Human Rights Commissioner

I must say this appointment of Tim Wilson is an interesting development indeed.

Let’s take a step back to January 23, 2013.

“The Australian Human Rights Commission does not protect human rights and should be abolished,”
Simon Breheny, Director of the Legal Rights Project at free market think tank the Institute of Public
Affairs will tell the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee today.


Then we go to the bottom of the media release.

Mr Breheny will be appearing at the inquiry with Chris Berg, Director of Policy and Tim Wilson,
Director of Climate Change Policy and the Intellectual Property and Free Trade Unit.

We can safely draw the conclusion from the fact Mr Wilson was appearing with Mr Breheny that Mr Wilson agreed with Mr Breheny – at least back in January this year he did.

Today he is a Human Rights Commissioner? On, I believe, a salary of over $300,000 per annum. It seems in Australia we now pay people to do a job they don’t believe should exist. Odd, don’t you think?

I quote from Mr Wilson’s own statement on his appointment (emphasis added):

It has been a great pleasure working at the IPA with so many bright and talented individuals toward the common goals we share: a belief in individuals and fostering a society where every person can seek to realise their maximum potential; the human rights of free speech, association, movement, worship, property and self-determination; voluntarism; restricting the power of over-burdensome government; and a strong, philosophical and passionate commitment to free markets and a free society.


I have personal reason to question this statement. Back in 2010 I was somewhat naive. I thought people in “research” institutions actually meant what they said! I read an article by Chris Berg of the IPA and for some strange reason thought he actually supported people fighting for individual freedoms, as I was at the time, and even asylum seekers. Chris Berg was one of the people I reached out to in my time of desperate need, fighting for my own human rights. I was never afforded the courtesy of a reply.

I thought to myself at the time, “so much for his spiel” and kept fighting. Looking at the above statement now, it reminds me of what I had read by Chris Berg. Great belief in individual freedoms – provided, it seems, the freedoms I WANT as a citizen (and am granted under the ICCPR) are not something our friends in high places disagree with. Surely choice of spouse is a basic self-determination right? Yes? I would like to point out the AHRC did protect my human rights, the IPA did not. Given at the time I was being shafted by a Labor Government, I would have thought the IPA would have loved the chance to spring to the defence of my individual freedom to choose my own husband and take a swipe at their political adversaries.

As I became more aware of how disastrously right our right wing had become (don’t forget I was right wing myself all my life) and I thank Malcolm Fraser for my education on that score, I realised our friends at the IPA weren’t exactly how they presented themselves.

Come forward to November 2013 and I read an article in The Guardian about plans afoot to repeal certain anti-discrimination legislation. My thoughts on that are outlined in How Does a Racist Hide Racism? The repeal was being promoted by Mr Brandis, the new Attorney-General.

Roughly five weeks later, Mr Brandis appoints Mr Wilson to a position Mr Wilson believes should not exist. I had put two and two together well before Mr Wilson announced publicly his intention to support the repeal of Section 18 C. Are you confused yet? Well, don’t be – it is often said the best way to change something is from the inside.

The United Nations has criticised Australia for not having a Bill of Rights. Now we are looking down the barrel of not even having a Human Rights Commission and certainly seeing our anti-discrimination legislation whittled away. Don’t be at all surprised if equality for women starts to be whittled away as well.

Given Abbott’s previous statements that all Australian children should read the Bible before they leave school and Mr Wilson’s desire that we have freedom to worship (but no mention of the freedom to NOT worship!) I am a little concerned about the survival of our secular society!

If we take Mr Wilson at his words above, I expect that he will work to ensure the following practical freedoms of individuals in this country:

  • Reduction of the prohibitive Partner Visa fees to allow choice of partner (self-determination)
  • Reduction in the Partner Visa processing times – these are human rights visas
  • Resolution of the unfair treatment of New Zealanders living in Australia (every person can seek to realise their maximum potential)
  • A Bill of Rights (a belief in individuals … and a free society)
  • The freedom of all to live without ethnic vilification (i.e. KEEP Section 18 C)
  • Ensure the NBN and the Gonski Report are implemented (every person can seek to realise their maximum potential)
  • Removal of the PPL (restricting the power of over-burdensome government)
  • Retention of the NDIS (every person can seek to realise their maximum potential)

Please feel free to add your freedom of choice in the comments!

Interestingly, I had (as I do) an enlightening exchange on Twitter in relation to Mr Wilson.

I’m guessing, right wing or not, I’m just not into the same freedoms as the people at IPA.

I have questions about the transparency of the recruitment process for this position. Was there any transparency? What was the process?

Jane Gilmore at The King’s Tribune has researched Mr Wilson’s ideological history very well. Do read Commissioner for Corporate Rights.

If regular readers are wondering, I have deliberately stayed away from the asylum seeker issue in this article. Time for that later.

27 comments on “Tim Wilson as Human Rights Commissioner

  1. […] first warning bells sounded with the appointment of Tim Wilson to the Human Rights Commission. I waxed lyrical on that over three articles, which you may entertain as background material if you […]


  2. […] of his belief in “freedom”. I learnt very clearly it is only certain freedoms that he deems worthy, not all of such international instruments as the ICCPR and the UDHR. I wanted to marry my husband, […]


  3. How do we know he is a decent guy?

    His maturity levels are undeveloped and his twitters undergraduate humour is not suited to this prestigious position. .

    Tacky to say the least…has never had a job in free markets either??

    An agent provocateur who is sadly being used for his gay status as well…

    Mr Brandis has a weird sense of humour imposing a corporate spy into this institution.


  4. He says he has been subject to discrimination as a gay man and says that he is fit to serve in this position on human rights. What i would like to know is where has a middle class man been abused with hate crimes in a country with the best g.l.b.t.i q rights in the western world?? Weird statement to make playing the gay card

    He was rude towards Waleed Aly just for the sake of pleasing his extreme right wing, conservative crowd with an abusive tone in his radio interview.

    Very out of depth with his knowledge of legislative interpretation and legal issues onm human rights.

    Massive hypocrisy with his pseudo_intellectual lightweight commentary.


    • Exactly what worries me. Being gay does not, by itself, qualify him for this job. He supports gay marriage? Great! Does he support cross border marriages? Asylum seekers? Children? All the OTHER provisions of the ICCPR and related instruments.


  5. Tim Wilson is also a strong supporter of same sex marriage.


    • That is fine. But it is not the biggest human rights issue in this country. I am glad he supports same sex marriage but he is also possibly a little biased on that question. It is all the other issues he is silent on that worry me.

      Thanks for contibuting!


    • Not really….it suits his own agenda.

      He has a lot of animosity from the gay community towards him about his version of being in a contractual free market marriage which is weird.

      He views people as commodities and is not a believer in equality for all.

      A creepy man if you read The Age article


  6. […] is Tim Wilson, whose ideologies I queried recently as being unsuitable for the job of a Human Rights Commissioner, sounding very like myself. So why […]


  7. […] on from my article about Tim Wilson, I want to look a little more deeply at his ideologies. You may have noticed the word […]


  8. His arrogant attitude wiith Waleed Aly where he took offense that he was really good at sound bites is very revealing.

    Weird man for his age.

    Someone else with more maturity, depth and a skill set to match the position would have been more credible

    Think tank work is dubious where you’re in a sheltered workshop with little real world experience.

    Idiot public deserve this government.


  9. His sexuality is VERY important as he has just said that as an openly gay man he has been discriminated against so he empathises with racial vilification….

    This is ridiculous to say as a middle class man living in Australia where G.L.B.T.I.Q rights are amongst the best in thd world! !

    Where exactly did this happen??

    Secondly with Marriage Equality on the agenda and the conservatives trying to place a conscience vote in parliament you would want gay liberals to support equality.

    His stance is that governments should stay out of marriage.

    Human rights and equality with gay people is very important.

    In this role which is farcical to many including some members of the gay community. ..he is a man of contradictions.


    • I see what you are saying George. Thank you for clarifying and yes it is very strange.

      Perhaps is some way he is trying to prove something about equality doing this job but his underlying ideology is not sound in my view.


  10. When I was doing a Community Welfare course, we were told that it was Much better for Australia to have our Human Rights because of all the Free Speech, Right of Worship Etc. Rather than having the Bill of Rights, well I did believe the tutor at the time.
    Not now though as when Wilson, his fellow Liberals and IPA get through with our Human rights they will be wrongs. We will have very little rights left unless a miracle happens along the way…Great article Robyn, lots of food for thought thanks..


    • Thanks for contributing to the discussion Maureen. I am very concerned they may attempt to change the constitution as well, but we’ll see what happens.

      You know the provisions of the ICCPR are not enshrined in our domestic legislation?


  11. An extremist gay man that has a racially tinged agenda.
    I don’t mind libertarians with a thoughtful and considered viewpoint.

    This man is a yuppy snot to the extreme!!

    Passion is applied to people with a genuine cause.
    Its sadly lacking here..and I will character assassinatr as it describes that the political is personal.


    • George, I don’t think Tim’s sexuality has anything to do with it, although I do agree if you are correct, it does seem odd that he would be so supportive of allowing the repeal of Section 18 C.

      Perhaps we just stick to his political ideologies and the belief he is out of step with the values of mainstream Australia.


  12. Very disappointing move. Proves the Abbott government has no interest in addressing some of the appalling human rights abuses within our society. If they were serious they would have appointed someone with expertise in working withing UN frameworks.


  13. Dracula in charge of the blood bank. I’ll have more to say about this grinning idiot later. If Pyne is the poodle, Wilson is the over-enthusiastic spaniel pup that keeps spraying on the furniture.


  14. Just saw Tim Wilson on ABC Breakfast News. Seems that his only focus is on Freedom of Speech. Doubt very much he will be looking at anyone’s human rights at all, just the freedom for the likes of a Bolt or Brandis to trash anyone who doesn’t believe in their extreme right wing values 😦


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