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Concern about IRT appointments justified



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and Ethnic Affairs

MEDIA

Senator Jim Short

Shadow Minister for Immigration A

xix.a..rdAz

Assisting the Leader on Multicultural Affairs

I M EA 35/94

CONCERN ABOUT IRT, APPOINTMENTS JUSTIFIED

The concerns expressed this week in the Victorian Parliament by the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr Phil Gude, about certain appointments to the Immigration Review Tribunal are fully justified.

Many of the recent new appointments, and several of the re-appointments, are difficult to justify on initial examination. I expressed my serious concerns about these matters in a statement on 21 August, in which I called on the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Senator

Bolkus, to clarify the basis for these appointments.

I also expressed in that statement my concern at the non re-appointment of the former Victorian Principal Merrther, Mr Michael Clothier. Mr Clothier was an acknowledged expert in the field of Migration Law, and with

immense experience in that area. He was also noted for his independence, a sterling quality which ., regrettably, appears not to have commended itself to the Minister. -

On 24 August I put on Notice a number of questions to Senator Bolkus seeking details on the backgrounds of the new appointees, together with the Minister's justification for each of these appointments, and also his justification for those who were not re-appointed. (See attached)

The standard period that the Minister has to respond to these questions has now expired. I call on Senator Bolkus .to immediately answer my questions in full.

COMMONWEALTH ?ARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

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It is clear that there is a growing community perception that Minister Bolkus has made a number of 'political appointments of people with close ties to the Labor Party to high paying public sector jobs. Only by fully releasing the details of, and justification for these appointments, will the community be in a position to make an informed judgement about their merit or not.

As Senator Bolkus has been prepared to release the details of one of the referees for one of the appointments he should now release details of all the referees for all the applicants/appointments, as the Minister obviously does not consider those references to be confidential.

The Coalition will continue to pursue this serious matter, which is vital to the integrity of the IRT and the community's confidence in it, with vigour.

Canberra 6 October 1994 For futher information contact Senator Short on (06) 277 3119 or Richard King on (03) 417 1499

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1993-94

THE PARLIAMENT. OF THE % COMMONWE .ATH OF AUSTRALIA THE SENATE

NOTICE PAPER

No 100

THI:JRSDAY, 25 AUGUST 1994 • -

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The Senate -meets this day at 930 a.m.

*1681 Senator . Short: To ask the Minister for irrirnigration.and Ethnic Affairs—With - reference to the Immigration Review- Tribunal (II•)• (1) Please provide a. complete list. of :IRT members as of 1 October 1994, indicating: (a) new. appointments; (b) reappointments; and (c) the dates at

which the terms expire for all IRT appointments_ (2) Please provide a complete background/resume for each 1R.T member, including: (a) previous employment (b) legal or immigration • experience; and (c) arty other skills or qualifications relevant, to appointment to the FRT. . (3) What is the Minister's justification for- aach of the new IRT appointments_

(4) Please provide a.complete list of those members not to be reappointed as of 1. October 1994, indicating' whether they were full-time or part-time members, and the. Minister ? s---reasons -for not reappointing each of-thern. (5) What is the number of , decisions- made up- to 30- June 1994 by each

members, both past and present, of the IRT (broken down year-by-year). (6) Please provide an outline of the reappointment prócess for ER.T members, including: (a) performance criteria; (b) the. selection-process; (c) the.nu .mber of applicants;*. (d) the-I:tames:and current employment of those short-listed;

(e) those on the selection. committee,-and: theircurrent employment (f) those, consulted during the ;reappointment process; (g) who makes- the final decision; and (Ii) any other information the Minister . considers relevant_ (7) What is the salary package. of those appointed as of 1 October 1994,

including both.fult-time and part-time:appointments-