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Monday, 11 May 2015
Page: 2724


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (13:23): The opposition opposes schedule 1 in the following terms:

(7) Schedule 1, item 30, page 27 (lines 10 and 11), to be opposed.

This amendment reflects a recommendation contained in the Labor senators' additional comments to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee's report. The bill, for no clear reason we can discern, removes the present requirement for the registrar of the court to be appointed on the nomination of the president. This amendment would retain the present arrangement. Again, this amendment goes to the independence of the tribunal and, again, the explanatory memorandum to the bill explains that the nomination requirement in the current AAT Act is not a standard feature of statutory appointments. But, as we say, AAT appointments are not standard statutory appointments. The registrar is tasked by section 24B of the AAT Act with assisting the president in the management of the tribunal. This relationship and, by extension, the position of the president and the independence of the tribunal is protected by the nomination requirement in the act. No compelling reason has been provided for why this practice should be departed from.