Dr Alastair McEwin AM
Commissioner McEwin is a long term disability advocate whose systemic advocacy and policy work has seen him put his name to countless professional and personal endeavours, including his most recent role as Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner from 2016 to 2019. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for June 2019, Commissioner McEwin was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to people with disability, and as a human rights advocate.
Born profoundly deaf, Commissioner McEwin demonstrated from a young age a determination that would see him seek opportunities that would progress his desire to advocate for people with disability. Attending a mainstream school in Adelaide for his primary and secondary education, he has pursued tertiary studies in Arts, Law and Business Administration; he chose law because he could see that having an understanding of the law would help with pursuing disability rights.
Over 25 years, Commissioner McEwin has worked across the private, government and non-government sectors, having held roles such as management consultant with Accenture, Manager of the Australian Centre for Disability Law, CEO of People with Disability Australia and Executive Director of Community Legal Centres NSW. He also spent five years as the President of the Deaf Society of NSW and was the Chairperson of the Disability Council NSW – the official advisory board to the New South Wales Government on disability issues.
Commissioner McEwin has come across many disability issues throughout the years. He has also experienced many career highlights including being co-coordinator of the Second International Deaf Youth Camp held in Brisbane in 1999, his involvement in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), working as an Associate to the Hon Justice John von Doussa and most recently, serving as Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner.
He was also Chairperson of the Australian Theatre of the Deaf, coordinator of the World Federation of the Deaf Expert Group on Human Rights and an adjunct lecturer for the Masters of Community Management degree at the University of Technology Sydney.
Commissioner McEwin takes on the role of Royal Commissioner as an opportunity to serve the disability community on an issue of national significance, one that is often hidden and rarely talked about in the wider community. This will build on the work that he undertook as Disability Discrimination Commissioner, where violence against people with disability was one of his six priority areas.