Report on the Role and Function of the Administrative Review Council


Terms of Reference

On 18 September 1996, the Senate referred the following matters relating to the Administrative Review Council (ARC) to the Committee for inquiry and report by the last sitting day in 1996:

The optimal role and function of the ARC and the relationship between the ARC and other relevant bodies including, but not limited to, the Attorney-General's Department, other Commonwealth departments, Commonwealth merits review tribunals, the Australian Law Reform Commission, tertiary institutions, the private sector, and territory and state agencies, with particular reference to:

(a) the benefit of a separate and permanent administrative law advisory body;

(b) the membership structure of the ARC;

(c) the functions and powers of the ARC;

(d) the effectiveness of the ARC in performing its functions and any obstacles to that effectiveness; and

(e) the need for any amendment to Part V of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act.

On 19 November 1996, the Senate agreed to extend the reporting date to the last sitting day in June 1997.

The suggestion that the inquiry be held came from the Attorney-General, the Hon Daryl Williams, AM QC MP. [1]

Conduct of the Inquiry

The former Chair of the Committee wrote to a broad range of persons and organisations seeking submissions to the inquiry. It did not advertise the inquiry in the media. A total of 26 submissions were received. The details of the submissions appear in Appendix 1.

The Committee held only one hearing on this inquiry. This was because most groups and individuals indicated that their submissions adequately reflected their views and that they had no further comments to make. The names of those who appeared at the hearing in Canberra on 7 April 1997 are set out in Appendix 2.


The Committee records its appreciation to all those who made submissions, appeared before it, or otherwise assisted its inquiry.

Senator Eric Abetz
The Senate
June 1997 


[1]. Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee, Hansard: Consideration of Estimates, 19 September 1996, p. LC117 (Mr S Skehill).