Murdoch University law lecturer Lorraine Finlay has been appointed Australia’s next Human Rights Commissioner.
Announcing the appointment, Attorney General Michaelia Cash said Ms Finlay will be responsible for protecting and promoting traditional rights and freedoms in Australia.
Ms Finlay has been a lecturer at Murdoch University’s School of Law since 2010, lecturing in areas including constitutional law, criminal law and legal protection of international human rights and has taught as part of Murdoch University’s International Human Rights Law Program in Geneva.
In addition to lecturing at Murdoch University, Ms Finlay is a Senior Human Trafficking Specialist with the Australian Mission to ASEAN, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame (Sydney campus).
Interim Vice Chancellor Romy Lawson congratulated Ms Finlay on her appointment.
“We have been privileged to have had someone of the calibre of Lorraine Finlay as part of our law faculty, imparting her outstanding legal knowledge to our law students,” Professor Lawson said.
“Lorraine is a talented practitioner and educator and has inspired many students who are now making significant contributions to society, whether practising law themselves or utilising their education to help other people.
“I have no doubt Lorraine’s appointment will inspire many of her students to pursue higher office, as Lorraine has done.”
Ms Finlay said she was honoured to be appointed Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner.
“I am looking forward to building on the substantial contributions made by my predecessors in the role,” Ms Finlay said.
Ms Finlay’s work has previously been recognised by Western Australia’s Parliament, with recommendations to amend Western Australia’s laws to clarify the eligibility of Members of Parliament with dual citizenship sitting in Parliament arising from an opinion piece written by Ms Finlay.
Writing in The Conversation, Ms Finlay noted that while Western Australian MPs could hold dual citizenship, their position as a member could be disqualified if they committed any act that acknowledged allegiance to a foreign power, which could include travelling on the foreign passport.
As a result of Ms Finlay’s analysis, the Legislative Council’s powerful Standing Committee on Procedure and Privileges inquired into the foreign allegiance provision in section 38(f) of the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899 and recommended changes to the laws – all due to the opinion piece in the Conversation.
Professor Lawson said the success of Lorraine Finlay shows that students who come to Murdoch University to study law are being educated and inspired by experts in the field.