Federal government minister Christopher Pyne says Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs made “substantial errors of judgment” by publicly criticising politicians.
Professor Triggs this week conceded she told a journalist some politicians were uneducated and ill-informed, despite initially denying the comments in a Senate Estimates Committee hearing.
“The Human Rights Commissioner and her position or his position should be above politics,” Mr Pyne told the ABC’s Insiders program.
“Gillian Triggs I think has made substantial errors of judgment in commenting on the political process and commenting on politicians.
“I feel very disappointed that the position of Human Rights Commissioner has been politicised in this way.”
The Coalition wants to haul Professor Triggs back in front of the committee after she admitted to giving false evidence.
A spokeswoman for Professor Triggs on Sunday said she stood by a statement issued last week, saying she had “written to the committee to clarify my statement”.
“I answered questions regarding the article in good faith and based on my best recollection. Upon further reflection I accept that the article was an accurate excerpt from a longer interview,” the statement said.
Triggs should ‘stick to human rights’: Pyne
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has accused the government of attacking Professor Triggs in an attempt to detract from its own problems.
“Now you see Gillian Triggs, who’s corrected the record at the earliest possible moment, she’s now being attacked by this government, keen to distract from what they haven’t done this week,” Mr Shorten said.
“What we saw this week is a shocking guns for votes swap and now we see the finger pointing continuing on.”
— Insiders ABC (@InsidersABC) October 22, 2016
Neither Mr Pyne, nor his Cabinet colleague Mitch Fifield who appeared on Sky News, would express confidence in Professor Triggs.
Mr Pyne said she had made a mistake by conducting an interview with a journalist.
“Whether the government has confidence in her or not is a matter for the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General,” he said.
“I’m sure she has a perfectly good will towards what she’s trying to do and she should stay out of politics and stick with human rights.”