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Law Council of Australia

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Administrative Review Tribunal Bills

15 February 2024
 

The Law Council recently made a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs as part of its inquiry into the Administrative Review Tribunal Bill 2023 and the Administrative Review Tribunal (Consequential and Transitional Provisions No. 1) Bill 2023.

This comprehensive submission was heavily informed by the Law Council’s Federal Administrative Law Reform Working Group, in addition to several Constituent Bodies and Law Council Committees. The Law Council is grateful for each contribution, which enabled it to engage in detail with these significant Bills, despite the expedited inquiry timeframe over the holiday period.

In its submission, the Law Council emphasises that the Bills represent a clear improvement to Australia’s current administrative review regime by replacing the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with the Administrative Review Tribunal. The submission welcomes the key features of the Bills, including a focus on merit-based appointments, the re-establishment of the Administrative Review Council, and powers for the Tribunal President to manage the performance and conduct of members.

Nonetheless, the Law Council’s submission seeks to draw the Committee’s attention to a variety of matters where the Bills would benefit from refinement and further justification. The submission makes a range of recommendations, including that:

On 7 February 2024, the Administrative Review Tribunal (Consequential and Transitional Provisions No. 2) Bill 2024 was introduced into the Parliament, and on 9 February, all three Bills were referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry, with a reporting date of 24 July 2024.

The Law Council will continue to closely engage with the current House of Representatives Committee inquiry process, as well as the subsequent Senate Committee inquiry, including by providing evidence at a hearing if requested. The Law Council looks forward to assisting the Parliament as it considers the Bills, and anticipates providing a further update in the coming months.

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