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Tuesday, 30 November 1999
Page: 11117


Senator Faulkner asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice, on 20 September 1999:

(Question No. 1436)

(1) Since 3 March 1996, how many decisions of the department and all portfolio agencies have been the subject of applications for review under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.

(2) Of these applications, how many related to: (a) agency staffing matters; (b) agency client matters; or (c) other (please specify general area).

(3) How many applications: (a) have been: (i) finalised, and (ii) withdrawn by the applicant; and (b) remain unfinalised.

(4) (a) What was the cost to the department or agency of defending each of these actions; and (b) what was the quantum of costs where they were awarded against the Commonwealth, where appropriate.

(Question No. 1454)

(1) Since 3 March 1996, how many decisions of the department and all portfolio agencies have been the subject of applications for review under the common law, including prerogative writs.

(2) Of these applications, how many related to: (a) agency staffing matters; (b) agency client matters; or (c) other (please specify general area).

(3) How many applications: (a) have been: (i) finalised, and (ii) withdrawn by the applicant; and (b) remain unfinalised.

(4) What was the cost to the department or agency of defending each of these actions; and (b) what was the quantum of costs where they were awarded against the Commonwealth, where appropriate.


Senator Hill (Environment and Heritage) —The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's questions:

I am advised that as applications for review of decisions may involve both proceedings under statute and proceedings under common law, the responses to the above questions have been combined and are set out in the following tables:

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

(1) Basis for application

(2) Subject matter

(3) Status of application

(4)(a) Cost of defending application

(4) (b) Quantum of costs awarded against the Commonwealth

Matter (1)

Combined AD(JR) and common law

Challenge to the termination of the appointment of a Secretary without affording natural justice

First instance decision finalised but appeal pending

Final accounts not yet received

Costs were awarded against the Commonwealth but the amount has not been finalised

Matter (2)

AD(JR) only

Challenge to the adequacy of procedural fairness accorded to a Secretary prior to termination of his appointment

First instance decision finalised but appeal pending

Final accounts not yet received

Costs were awarded in favour of the Commonwealth but the amount has not been finalised

Sub Totals

AD (JR): 1

(a) agency staffing: 0

(a) (i) Finalised: 2

N/A

N/A

Common law: 0

(b) agency client: 0

(a) (ii) withdrawn: 0

Combined: 1

(c) other: 2

(b) unfinalised: 0

Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman

(1) Basis for application

(2) Subject matter

(3) Status of application

(4) (a) Cost of defending application

(4) (b) Quantum of costs awarded against the Commonwealth

Matter (1)

Combined AD(JR) and common law

Agency client

Withdrawn

$1,167.50

N/A

Matter (2)

AD(JR) only

Agency client

Withdrawn

none

N/A

Matter (3)

AD(JR) only

Agency client

Finalised

none

N/A

Sub Totals

AD(JR): 2

(a) agency staffing: 0

(a)(i) finalised: 1

N/A

N/A

Common law: 0

(b) agency client: 3

(a)(ii) withdrawn: 2

Combined: 1

(c) other: 0

(b) unfinalised: 0

Public Service and Merit Protection Commission

(1) Basis for application

(2) Subject matter

(3) Status of application

(4) (a) Cost of defending application

(4) (b) Quantum of costs awarded against the Commonwealth

Matter (1)

Probably combined AD(JR) and common law (see note 1)

Challenge to Head of Paedophile Inquiry

Finalised

See note 2

N/A

Matter (2)

As above

Appeal from first instance decision above

Finalised

See note 2

Approximately$33,000

Matter (3)

Probably combined AD(JR) and common law

Challenge to Discipline Appeal Committee decision

Finalised

Approximately $1,830

N/A

Matter (4)

Common law only

Challenge to decision under the Public Service Act re a transfer

Unfinalised

Accounts not yet received

N/A

Matter (5)

Probably combined AD(JR) and common law

Challenge to Discipline Appeal Committee decision

Finalised

Approximately $800

N/A

Matter (6)

AD(JR) only

Challenge to decision not to provide s.13 statement of reasons

Withdrawn

Accounts not yet received

N/A

Matter (7)

Probably combined AD(JR) and common law

Challenge to Promotion Appeal Committee decision

Withdrawn

Accounts not yet received

N/A

Matter (8)

AD(JR) only

Challenge to Promotion Appeal Committee decision

Finalised

Approximately $43,500

N/A

Matter (9)

Probably combined AD(JR) and common law

Challenge to Discipline Appeal Committee decision

Unfinalised

Accounts not yet received

N/A

Sub Totals

AD(JR): 2

(a) agency staffing: 0

(a) (i) finalised: 5

N/A

N/A

Common law: 1

(b) agency client: 0

(a) (ii) withdrawn: 2

Combined: 6

(c) other: 9

(b) unfinalised: 2

Notes

1. "Probably combined AD(JR) and common law" denotes that it was not clear from these applications on what basis they were made.

2. Legal costs for matters number (1) and (2) could not be distinguished from the overall legal costs associated with the Paedophile Inquiry.

Costs have been calculated on the basis of amounts paid by the PS&MPC to AGS. However for matters number (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (9) there were other respondents to the applications who are Commonwealth agencies and who may have borne significant legal costs in defending the actions. This arises in matters number (3), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (9) because in challenges to decisions of Disciplinary Appeal Committees and Promotion Appeal Committees, the Committee members submit to the jurisdiction of the Court and the agency responsible for the original decision affecting the applicant is joined in the action and takes the running of the case.