Australian Human Rights Commissioner Professor Gillian Triggs has sent a defiant message to her critics in the Abbott government: she is not going anywhere.
Professor Triggs told a conference in Canberra on Tuesday she was determined to see out her five-year appointment, despite the "horrifying" experience of her clash with the government over asylum-seeker children.
She said the political backlash against her inquiry into children in detention was the lowest point of her 47-year legal career but she was determined to see her five-year term as commissioner through.
But speaking at the "She Leads" conference for female leaders organised by the YWCA of Canberra, Professor Triggs warned women in public sector leadership roles of the dangers of failing to consider politics when making big decisions.
The commissioner was at the centre of a political storm early in 2015 when Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis accused her of orchestrating a stitch-up over children in detention and said she had lost the confidence of the Australian people over some of her other decisions.
The row intensified when Professor Triggs said the secretary of Senator Brandis' department offered her an inducement to resign and the commissioner was targeted for personal attacks by the right wing press.
Although she conceded to some naivety in stepping into such a politically charged arena, Professor Triggs insisted she was doing her job when she launched the inquiry.
"My job does include the right to inquire into acts and practices, including those of the Commonwealth government," she said.
"Now, no human rights commission in the world could have turned its back on the number of children held in prolonged and indefinite and mandatory detention as asylum seekers.
"So as far as I was concerned I was simply doing my job according to the law.
"But what I didn't realise was that I forgot about the politics."
The commissioner said she had found herself in a horrifying position in the wake of the report but that she had no intention of resigning her position.
"It was horrifying for someone who has been a practising barrister and solicitor for 47 years to suddenly find they were in this kind of environment where allegations are made, attempts are made persuade for an alternative position and I'm unable because of my position to defend myself in any public way and was subject to eight hours of unremitting question by the Senate," she said.
"So it was an extraordinary experience and one which I think was the lowest point of my professional career.
"But it's one that I'm absolutely determined to manage my way through,
"Mercifully I'm protected by my position as a statutory officer by five-year provisions that guarantee [I] cannot be deposed for political reasons unless I'm bankrupt or commit a criminal offence."