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Guidelines for appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

Administrative law
Publication date

Guidelines for appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)


These Guidelines set out a transparent and merit-based process for the appointment (including reappointment) of all AAT members. Key features of the process include:

  • selection of non-judicial members will be made against a core set of selection criteria, supplemented by additional criteria as required, and
  • a panel report endorsed by the chair of the assessment panel will be provided to the Attorney-General recommending candidates found suitable for appointment and reappointment.


The following appointments are excluded from these Guidelines:

  • the AAT President, and
  • the AAT Registrar

Where short term (less than three month) acting appointments are to be made (for example during the absence of the AAT President), the processes prescribed in the relevant legislation should be followed.

Where short term (up to three month) extensions of appointments or short term reappointments are to be made to ensure continuity of AAT membership, the processes prescribed in the Cabinet handbook should be followed. The Attorney-General will consult with the President about short term extensions and reappointments.

Filling vacancies

At least once each year the Attorney-General will determine what positions need to be filled and at what level, informed by the advice of the AAT President.

Vacancies in the AAT will be filled in the following manner:

Appointments and reappointments of judicial members

  1. The appointment and reappointment of judicial members will be made following consultation by the Attorney-General with the AAT President and the relevant Chief Justice.

Appointments and reappointments of non-judicial members

  1. Expressions of interest will be sought at least every six months, unless there are no vacancies to be filled or it is impractical to do so.
  2. Expressions of interest in appointment will be sought via public advertisement. Positions will be advertised at a minimum on the APSjobs website and in the national press.
  3. Non-judicial member selections will be made against the following core selection criteria, supplemented by additional criteria as required:
    1. ability to conduct hearings and other Tribunal proceedings
    2. decision-making and reasoning
    3. writing and communication skills
    4. independence, integrity and collegiality
    5. productivity, diligence and resilience
    6. for senior roles such as Senior Members, Deputy Presidents and Division Heads, leadership
    7. an understanding of, and a commitment to, safe and respectful workplaces; and
    8. the needs of the Tribunal.
  4. A register will be established to receive expressions of interest that address the selection criteria.
  5. An assessment panel will assess applicants' claims against the selection criteria. Multiple assessment panels may be required depending on the nature of the vacancies.
  6. Assessment panels will be chaired by the Attorney-General's Department Secretary or their delegate.
  7. Assessment panels will comprise the Chair, the AAT President (or delegate), and one member nominated by the Attorney-General.
  8. Assessment panels will determine the methodology to be used to assess the suitability of applicants who have provided expressions of interest to the register.
    1. For existing members seeking reappointment or promotion, a referee report will be sought from the President, a Division Head or another member of appropriate seniority with knowledge of the member's work.
  9. Assessment panels will provide a report to the Attorney-General setting out those applicants considered and those found suitable for appointment, including reasoning.
  10. If two panel members consider an applicant suitable for appointment and the third panel member disagrees, this should be reflected in the report to the Attorney-General, including the reasoning of the respective panel members.

Ministerial recommendations to Cabinet

  1. The Attorney-General will use the panel report to recommend non-judicial appointments and will use the merit list in recommending non-judicial appointments to similar vacancies occurring within a reasonable period of the recruitment process being undertaken.
  2. The Attorney-General will use consultations with the AAT President and relevant Chief Justice to recommend judicial appointments.
  3. The Attorney-General will consult ministerial colleagues who must be consulted in respect of potential appointments to particular Divisions.
  4. If the appointment(s) receive Cabinet's approval, the Attorney-General will recommend the appointment(s) to the Governor-General for consideration.