THE chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission could be an expatriate, says Secretary for Home Affairs Michael Suen Ming-yeung. The Government had so far been unable to fill the post, he said, stressing that it did not have to go to a local. It is understood that at least one person has turned down the offer. Mr Suen declined to provide details. But he said some names had been proposed for the chairmanship of the commission, to be set up next year. Earlier this month, the Finance Committee endorsed a funding proposal of $65 million to cover the commission's costs for the first year. Advertisements to recruit the chief executive and support staff would be placed as soon as possible, Mr Suen said. He added that the administration had finished drafting the commission's code of practice regarding sex discrimination, and was now working on 'the flesh around the bones'. The code would be based closely on the British model. Reference could also be drawn from the code of practice of the local employers' association. The commission would play an educational role, investigate complaints and try to mediate, he said. If mediation failed, civil litigation would be heard at the District Court level. The court would then use the commission's decision as a starting point to deal with cases, he said. But he stressed the future direction of the commission would be in the hands of the new chairman. Mr Suen said it was important to seek public views on the various anti-discrimination private member's bills to be tabled next year. Democratic Party legislator Lau Chin-shek is expected to table his private member's bill on discrimination on the grounds of family responsibility, sexuality and age next month. But Mr Suen said legislators should try to match the Government's timetable. It was about to finish two consultation papers on family responsibility and sexuality. 'One should not say in an abstract way whether it would be good to have equality. Everybody would say that it would be good to have equality,' he said. That would involve restricting a person's behaviour by defining what is lawful and the impact would be great, he said. He added that people might unknowingly discriminate which made it important to solicit public opinions on the subject. Chairmanship of the Privacy Commission was still unfilled. He hoped that the post could be filled as soon as possible but declined to say who had been approached.