Repatriation Appeals, 1979
Summary of the report
The Council's report was transmitted to the Government on 26 February 1979.
In the report, the Council supported a link between the proposed Repatriation Review Tribunal and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT'). It also supported many of the existing proposals for reference of matters from the specialist tribunal to the AAT. Six exceptions were identified, and the Council recommended that the AAT be vested with jurisdiction over two additional matters not covered by the draft proposals. The Council proposed that:
- jurisdiction should be vested in the AAT to review decisions of the Repatriation Review Tribunal - the right of review being available to both veterans and the Repatriation Commission,
- there was no need for the AAT to be constituted by a presidential member in all cases,
- legal representation should be permitted before the AAT, and
- the provisions for appeals to the Federal Court from both tribunals should be materially identical.
Recommendations are also made on the criteria and procedure for referring cases from the Repatriation Review Tribunal to the AAT, and that the Repatriation Review Tribunal President be eligible to sit as an AAT member.
Response to the report
Subsequent to the Council's recommendations, a Repatriation Act Amendment Bill 1979 was introduced into, and passed by, the Parliament. The Repatriation Act (Amendment Act) 1979 came into effect on 1 July 1979.
The Council's recommendations on: legal representation; the criteria and procedure for reference; and, the Repatriation Review Tribunal President sitting on the AAT, were adopted by the Government and included in that Act. The following recommendations were not adopted:
- that jurisdiction should be vested in the AAT to review decisions of the Repatriation Review Tribunal; and
- in respect of the reference of proceedings by the Repatriation Review Tribunal to the AAT - that no provision should be made as to the constitution of the AAT in such proceedings, and that the provisions for appeals and references on questions of law to the Federal Court from the Repatriation Review Tribunal should be materially identical to those of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975.