Vic Equal Opportunity board quits
All but one board member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission have tendered their resignation to Attorney-General Robert Clark.
The final two resignations, which were announced, last night, leave the commission without a functioning governing structure.
The loss of the board members follows Clark’s (pictured) rejection of the newly selected head of the Equal Opportunity Commission, and leaves chairman John Searle, who was handpicked for the position by Clark, as the sole board member.
The board unanimously selected a candidate for the position of commissioner and presented them to Clarke three months ago as replacement for Helen Szoke who resigned from the position of commissioner a year ago.
Board member Carolyn Creswell last night faxed her resignation to Clark’s office stating her disapproval of Clark’s veto of their selected candidate.
''I feel very disappointed that the unanimous recommendation of our seven board members for the candidate of a new commissioner was rejected without any just reason,” she said in her resignation.
''The board conducted a thorough recruitment process that included the use of an executive search agent, advertising the position in newspapers across Australia, and interviewing short-listed candidates.
“On 2 April 2012 … the board forwarded a unanimous recommendation to the Attorney-General. On Friday, 22 June 2012, the Attorney-General rejected the board's recommendation.”
Equal opportunity laws in Victoria have been amended since the election of the Baillieu government to decrease the power of the commissioner and roll back the plans to allow a commissioner to launch public inquiries in serious cases of discrimination.
The five board members who resigned were all appointed by former Attorney-General Rob Hulls with the sixth member, Professor Kuruvilla George, resigning earlier this year after sparking condemnation by publicly opposing same-sex marriage.
The board positions were due to expire in September.