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Tuesday, 15 March 2005
Page: 73


Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (5:21 PM) —by leave—I move government amendments (1) and (3) on sheet QS296:

(1)    Schedule 1, item 15, page 5 (lines 13 to 26), omit subsections (1) and (1A), substitute:

President

Note 1A:    The following heading to subsection 10(1) is inserted “Acting President”.

We also oppose schedule 1, item 26, in the following terms:

The reason I wish to debate these amendments cognately is that they all relate to the same issue. Government amendment (2) is consequential on (1) and (3). At the outset, I table a supplementary explanatory memorandum relating to the government amendments to be moved to this bill. The memorandum was circulated in the chamber on 15 March 2005.

In relation to government amendments (1), (2) and (3), I can advise the committee that these amendments will delete new subsection 7(1) and subsection 7(1A), which were proposed to be inserted by item 15 of schedule 1 of the bill. The Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee’s recommendation 1 was that subsection 7(1) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act should not be repealed. That recommendation of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation committee states:

The Committee recommends that the Bill be amended to retain the requirement that the President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal must be a judge of the Federal Court of Australia. That is, subsection 7(1) should not be repealed.

The government amendment has the effect of restoring the current subsection 7(1) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act but with a drafting change of the word ‘shall’ to ‘must’. This means that the current requirement for the president to be a Federal Court judge will be retained in the act.

Amendment (2) omits a consequential amendment to subsection 10(1) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act. That section deals with the appointment of an acting president. The amendment which is to be deleted would have inserted a reference to ‘persons qualified to be appointed as president’, consequential on the proposed new subsection 7(1). The amendment is no longer necessary as the government has not proceeded with the change to the qualifications for the president.

Government amendment (3) is a drafting matter. It inserts a new heading for subsection 10(1) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act: ‘Appointment of an acting president’. The new heading was to be inserted with the amendment to subsection 10(1) now omitted. These amendments are interrelated. Government amendments (1) and (3) will be dealt with together and amendment (2) will be dealt with separately and in a different manner. We believe that these amendments respond to the committee’s concerns and, as I have outlined previously, they are appropriate.