Australia’s former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes AM, will be presented with an Honorary Doctorate at tomorrow’s RMIT University graduation ceremony.
The Doctor of Social Science Honoris Causa is in recognition of Innes’s national contribution to public service and advocacy of human rights, particularly for people with disabilities.
Born with congenital blindness, Innes was treated no differently to his siblings and was one of the first blind children integrated into the mainstream school system in NSW during the early 1970s.
RMIT University Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, said Innes’s diverse experience as a lawyer, strategic thinker, facilitator and humanitarian allowed him to bring perspectives from business, government and the community together in the pursuit of a fair go for all Australians.
“He has a global standing and reputation, serving Australia several times in international negotiations on recognition of the human rights of people with disabilities,” Martin said.
A lawyer, mediator and company director, Innes was Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2005 to 2014.
He was school captain, a prefect and member of the debating team.
During his time at the Australian Human Rights Commission, he also served as Human Rights Commissioner for three and a half years and as Race Commissioner for two years.
Innes has been a Human Rights Practitioner for more than 30 years nationally and internationally at the United Nations, where as our Human Rights Commissioner at the time was involved in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Innes was the Chair of the Disability Advisory Council of Australia from 1990 to 1995 and was the Inaugural Chair of Vision Australia.
In 1995 Innes was made a Member of the Order of Australia, in recognition of his human rights work and advocacy for the rights of Australians with a disability.
Married with two adult children, he is a self-proclaimed cricket tragic who relaxes by sailing.
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