The Attorney-General George Brandis has named outgoing Member for Fisher Mal Brough as Australia’s next Race Discrimination Commissioner. The announcement comes as incumbent Commissioner is set to finish his term in early 2017.
In a short press conference, the Attorney-General praised Brough for his 14 years of service to the Australian parliament, in particularly his 11 years as the Member for Dickson, during which time Brough represented an electorate in which less than 8% of voters spoke a language other than English.
Senator Brandis also spoke of Brough’s 14 months as the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, during which time he oversaw the controversial North Territory Intervention. It was this time in particular in which Senator Brandis believes Mr Brough developed a an acute sense of how to employ racial discrimination “as an effective means to a desired outcome”.
Mr Brough told The (un)Australian that he felt blessed to be given a “fifth or sixth chance at public life”. Having lost his seat in 2007, been embroiled in “Ashbygate” in 2012 and forced to resign as Special Minister of State in 2015, some might reasonably have inferred that Mr Brough had exhausted his chances. However according to John Franz, political historian from the ANU, these kind of hiccoughs just seem to propel Brough on to greater office.
“Mal’s been stuffing up since he was a backbencher back in 1997. It doesn’t seem to set his career back at all like it would for anyone else. He just gets fired, goes out of the public spotlight for 18 months then comes back with a promotion and a new office.
“The smart money says that he resigns as Race Discrimination Commissioner in two years time after wearing a Nazi uniform to a dress-up party, then comes back two years after that as Governor-General.”