Position Paper - Federal Parole Authority
15 December 2022
Decisions affecting the liberty of individuals should be made in a transparent, accountable, and independent manner. Parole, as a form of conditional release of offenders into the community to serve part of their sentence, engages the basic right of individuals to their liberty.
A federal parole authority should be established as an independent statutory body, empowered to make parole decisions. It should work within a transparent institutional framework, which would assist in improving the administration of justice at the Commonwealth level.
The federal parole authority should have the resources and expertise to:
properly afford prisoners procedural fairness, including providing all relevant material and adequate time to respond to notices of intention to refuse parole; and
make decisions that give due weight to all relevant considerations as required by the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (Crimes Act).
The successful functioning of a federal parole authority will be determined by the extent to which it is underpinned by four key design principles: independence, transparency, procedural fairness, and accountability.
The federal parole authority’s decisions should be final, subject to judicial review under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth), and not subject to the responsible Minister’s approval. The authority should also make decisions in relation to the conditions to be attached to release on parole and license.
The federal parole authority should be established as an agency separate to the current Commonwealth Parole Office (CPO), which is located within the Attorney‑General’s Department (Department). The federal parole authority should be overseen by an agency head who is appointed by the Governor‑General (subject to statutory protections to ensure their independence and expertise) and have staff who are employed directly under the governing Act.