Margaret Court AHRC

We here at Crikey are very excited to have gained early access* to a draft media release from the federal government regarding the (long overdue) appointment of more sporting legends to bodies like the Australian Human Rights Commission and Treasury Department.



The Federal Government wishes to respond to recent statements by tennis legend Margaret Court regarding the appointment of a new president of the Human Rights Commission. The government recognises that Mrs Court holds the record for the most major singles tournament victories in history, as well as winning 19 women’s doubles and 21 mixed doubles titles, and that her views on human rights and government appointments must therefore be taken extremely seriously. However, in an effort to ensure a wide range of community views are canvassed, before making a final decision on the HRC appointment, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has decided to also seek input from Mrs Court’s fellow experts, Rob de Castella and Joe Bugner.

The government recognises that official appointments to independent bodies like the Human Rights Commission risk being compromised by the current haphazard method of consultation, and will therefore be instituting a new Official Appointments Advisory Council, that will offer expert advice to the Prime Minister and Cabinet with regards to such decisions in the future. From July 1, no appointment to federal bodies will be made without the receipt of a detail report from the OAAC. Members of the OAAC will be drawn from a pool of highly qualified and eminent members of the community. Initially the Council will be made up of five prominent individuals: Herb Elliott, Kerry Saxby-Junna, Wendy Turnbull, Andrew Gaze and Sam Newman. These five bring a range of skills to the job, including speed, vertical leap, superb reflexes and solid backhand, that will minimise the chances of HRC missteps going forward.

The institution of the OAAC marks the beginning of a new era of evidence-based policy from the Federal Government, with plans to ensure no major action will be taken without appropriate input from experts in the relevant area. Besides the OAAC itself, Mr Turnbull has today announced plans to appoint a Special Consultant to the CSIRO, with responsibility for approving all CSIRO projects and studies. The first Special Consultant will be Olympic hero Steve Bradbury, whose work with aerodynamics and properties of water make him an ideal choice.

Further to this, a new position has been created at Treasury, with the provisional title Treasurer’s Advocate, to provide informed advice to Treasury officials and hand down judgments on occasions when opinion within Treasury is divided. The first Treasurer’s Advocate will be Australian netball legend Vicki Wilson, who will bring to the task of fiscal management the unerring aim and tactical nous that made her such a force on court. The Treasurer’s Advocate will be joined by her counterpart in the Department of Defence, Merv Hughes, the first ADF Secretary-General, who will be responsible for reviewing all ministerial and departmental decisions. Mr Hughes came highly recommended for his keen understanding of both the defensive value of varied pace and length, and the offensive capability of the yorker.

These are the appointments the government has decided on at this time. A further statement on press speculation regarding the newly vacant position of head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and ongoing negotiations with Wally Lewis, will be released later today.

*As unearthed by satirist Ben Pobjie