House of Representatives

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Bill 2005

Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Attorney-General, the Honourable Philip Ruddock MP)
Amendments to be Moved on Behalf of the Government.

General outline, financial impact and notes on items

General outline

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Bill 2005 (the Bill) amends the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (the AAT Act) and a number of other Acts to improve the capacity of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to manage its workload and ensure that reviews are conducted as efficiently as possible.

The Bill was introduced into the Parliament on 17 November 2004, and was subsequently referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee, which reported on the Bill on 8 March 2005. Government and Opposition amendments were subsequently made to the Bill.

The proposed Government amendments to the Bill are in response to certain of the amendments made to the Bill during its passage in the other House.

Financial impact

There is no direct financial impact on Government revenue from the proposed Government amendments.

Notes on items

Schedule 1 - Amendments

Amendment (1)

This amendment omits item 21A of the Bill.

Item 21A repeals subsection 8(3) of the AAT Act which provides that, subject to that Part of the AAT Act, a member holds office for such period of at most 7 years as is specified in the instrument of appointment, but is eligible for re-appointment. Item 21A proposes to insert a new subsection 8(3), which specifies both a minimum and a maximum period of appointment. The Government amendment would mean that subsection 8(3) is unaffected by the Bill.

Amendment (2)

This amendment deletes new paragraph 23(9)(a) which is proposed to be inserted in the AAT Act by item 66 of the Bill and substitutes a new paragraph 23(9)(a).

Item 66 inserts a new section 23 into the AAT Act dealing with the reconstitution of the Tribunal for the purposes of particular proceedings when a member becomes unavailable. New subsection 23(9) lists the considerations which the President of the AAT is to take into account when making a direction under subparagraph 23(2)(b)(iii) that a member is not to continue to take part in particular proceedings. This amendment deletes the detailed list of considerations in paragraph 23(9)(a) and substitutes new paragraph 23(9)(a) which is the requirement that the President must not give a direction under subparagraph 23(2)(b)(iii) unless the President is satisfied that it is in the interest of justice to do so. New subsection 23(12) inserted by item 66 provides further elaboration of the concept of interests of justice.

Amendment (3)

This amendment omits items 76A and 76B of the Bill.

Item 76A repeals subsection 27(1) of the AAT Act and substitutes a new subsection 27(1). The effect of the amendment is to retain existing subsection 27(1), which provides that where an enactment (other than the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979) provides that an application may be made to the Tribunal for a review of a decision, the application may be made by or on behalf of any person or persons (including the Commonwealth or an authority of the Commonwealth) whose interests are affected by the decision.

Item 76B inserts a definition provision as new subsection 27(1A) of the AAT Act in consequence of the amendment proposed in item 76A. As item 76A is to be omitted, item 76B is consequently also omitted.