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Triggs to be replaced as HRC president: PM

AAP logoAAP 16/11/2016 Roje Adaimy

Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed Gillian Triggs won't stay on as president of the Human Rights Commission once her term expires next year.

Professor Triggs has had a fractious relationship with the coalition government over the years, and has faced particularly fierce criticism in recent weeks.

She took up the role in 2012 on a five-year term and has never publicly expressed a desire to continue beyond that.

The prime minister confirmed on Wednesday she will be replaced when her tenure ends in July, 2017.

He did not say whether Professor Triggs had been formally told of the decision.

"There will be a new president after her term expires in the middle of next year," he told Sydney's 2GB radio.

"In an office like this you serve your term and sometimes, if people want to have it renewed it might be renewed, but in this case there will be a new president of the Human Rights Commission when Professor Triggs' term expires."

Mr Turnbull made it clear neither he, nor the coalition, made the appointment, but said it was not productive to get into a slanging match with her.

"She's got to defend and justify her own conduct."

A number of Liberal and Nationals MPs have taken aim at her since early 2014, when she commissioned a report into children in immigration detention.

In more recent times, she has been criticised during debate of race hate laws - namely controversial section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Coalition backbencher Eric Abetz, among Prof Triggs' fiercest critics, said the news was welcome.

"The Australian people are fed up with the repeated incompetence displayed by Professor Triggs and this announcement by the prime minister will be welcomed by many in the community," Senator Abetz said in a statement.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, another vocal critic, said people would make their own judgments about Prof Triggs but his government had been very clear on its position.

"These are highly-paid positions. They come with a great deal of responsibility and people need to conduct themselves in accord with the high office that they occupy," he told ABC radio.

"We've been concerned and disappointed on a number of fronts, but it's an issue for others to debate."

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