Administrative Review Council - Admin Review
Since the last edition of Admin Review the Council has published its guideline publication entitled Legal Training for Primary Decision Makers: a curriculum guideline, in June 2004, and its report entitled Automated Assistance in Administrative Decision Making was officially launched by the Attorney-General, the Hon Philip Ruddock MP on 8 December 2004. The Council’s 29th annual report, for 2004–05, was tabled in Parliament in November 2005.
Since the June 2004 issue of Admin Review the Council has provided letters of advice dealing with the following matters:
• reform of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal • the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Bill 2004—final advice on ‘in the interest of justice’ • the Administrative Appeals Amendment Bill 2004 inquiry—advice on ss 23 and 23A • s 23(9)(a) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Bill 2005.
In 2004 and 2005 the Council presented submissions in response to the following government initiatives:
• the Copyright Law Review Committee on Crown Copyright discussion paper • the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee inquiry into the Migration Litigation Reform Bill 2005 • the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee inquiry into the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Bill 2005 • the Ministerial Council on Energy’s Standing Committee of Officials Review of Decision-making in the Gas and Electricity Regulatory Framework discussion paper • the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee inquiry into the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Bill (No 2) 2005 • the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Committee inquiry into the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2005 and the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management (Related Amendment) Bill 2005.
The Council has finalised its report on the scope of judicial review and publication is imminent. The report draws on comments received in response to the Council’s discussion paper The Scope of Judicial Review, released in 2003. In the report, the Council examines the powers of Parliament to expand and contract judicial review, some of the mechanisms that have been used to do this, and some of the arguments that have been advanced to justify restrictions on judicial review. It also looks at the extent to which it is appropriate for Parliament to contract the scope of a judicial review jurisdiction it has earlier created or to seek to minimise the scope of judicial review practically available. The conclusions the Council reached as a result of this analysis are brought together in a framework of indicative principles at the end of the report.
The Council is continuing to work on a draft report on the coercive information-gathering powers of government agencies. This involves developing best-practice principles for the exercise of such powers with a view to maintaining an appropriate and cost-effective balance between the rights of agencies and those of individuals.
The Council has recently begun work on developing a practical guide to procedural fairness. The outcome will be production of a guideline publication designed to provide to government decision makers practical assistance on the rules of procedural fairness that must be complied with when making administrative decisions.