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 Report 4

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 - Amendments, 1979

Summary of the report

The Council's report was transmitted to the Government on 26 June 1979. Although not tabled, the Attorney-General stated in the Senate on 15 November 1979 that copies of the report were available on request.

Among other things, the report includes recommendations about:

  • the repeal and non-enactment of provisions specifying presidential tribunals,
  • the constitution of an ACT Division in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT'), and reorganisation of provisions relating to Divisions,
  • the removal of the limitation on the AAT's power to grant stays of decisions,
  • the obligatory notification of appeal rights,
  • the right to request a copy of the full reasons for decisions,
  • time for furnishing reasons and documents,
  • compulsory holding of preliminary conferences,
  • the power to receive evidence otherwise than in the presence of parties, and
  • the constitution of the Council itself.

Response to the report

The Council's recommendations for: the extension of the power to grant stays of decisions; the time for furnishing reasons and documents; and, its recommendations on the constitution of the Council, were accepted and implemented in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Act 1979. The recommendation for repeal of provisions specifying presidential tribunals was not accepted, in so far as it related to decisions of Ministers personally. Such provisions were repealed in respect of decisions under the Customs Act 1901, the Patents Act 1952, and the Trade Marks Act 1905. Removal of the limit on the AAT's decision-making power was accepted for decisions under one section of the Migration Act 1958, but not for deportation decisions.

Later amendments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, by the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act (No. 1) 1982, implemented more of the Council's recommendations, and incorporated further recommendations made by Council on the draft legislation prior to introduction into the Parliament.