Dissenting report from Coalition Senators

While Coalition senators consider that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) needs to make some considerable improvements in its processes and procedures, we strongly reject all recommendations made in the majority report.
In rejecting the recommendations, our concerns include the following matters as set out below.
We are of the view that the 2019 Protocol for appointments should remain in place as it currently exists and reject the suggestion that this protocol be abandoned.
We reject the majority report’s recommendation that the Administrative Review Council should be re-funded (recommendation 1), noting that funding decisions are entirely a matter for Government.
Given that we fully support the continuing operation of the 2019 Protocol for appointments to the AAT, and recommendation 2 of the majority report is predicated on the claim that the 2019 Protocol should be abandoned, we reject recommendation 2.
We reject any suggestion in the majority report that the Attorney-General’s Department has been unable to successfully take over the functions and responsibilities of the Administrative Review Council.
We reject the majority report’s recommendation that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal should be disassembled, and that a new federal administrative review system be established (recommendation 3).
Notwithstanding our rejection of all recommendations in the majority report, as has been highlighted in recent Senate Estimates hearings, we are concerned about a number of the AAT’s internal processes and procedures which have given rise to inaccurate and incomplete information about a range of matters including the benchmarking of members’ work performance, case-loads and completion rates. We also support the implementation of a consistent remuneration framework for all members.
We are encouraged by the AAT’s recent efforts to address these and other matters, and look forward to future improvements.
Senator the Hon Sarah Henderson
Deputy Chair
Senator Paul Scarr
Liberal Senator for Queensland

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