Age Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
Dr Patterson began her role as Age Discrimination Commissioner on 29th July, 2016. Her strong interest in issues affecting older people has been demonstrated throughout her professional career. After gaining a BA (Hons) at the University of Sydney and a PhD in Psychology and Dip Ed at Monash University; Dr Patterson taught allied health science for 11 years. She then went on to study gerontology at two universities in the USA, and used the knowledge gained during those visits to co-develop the first Victorian post-graduate diploma in gerontology and to introduce gerontology into the undergraduate behavioural science courses.
Following her election to the Senate in 1987, she served on a number of Senate committees and held various shadow portfolios. In 1988 she was appointed a Parliamentary Secretary, and in 2001 was appointed to Cabinet and served in the Health and Social Security portfolios. During her time in the Senate one of her major areas of interest were issues affecting older Australians. She retired from Cabinet in 2006 and from the Senate in 2008.
She has served on a number of not-for-profit Boards and voluntary positions, and is currently Director of the Brockhoff Foundation and honorary Professorial Fellow at Monash University.