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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1643

Senator DEVITT (TASMANIA) - My question, which is directed to the Attorney-General, arises out of the deliberations of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee this morning when departmental witnesses were examined as to the availability of appeal provisions under certain regulations. Is it a fact that the Government proposes to establish a legislative review tribunal to afford rights of appeal to persons against ministerial and administrative decisions where such rights of appeal do not presently exist? Will the tribunal's functions cover the whole range of both substantive and subordinate legislation and operate in all instances where aggrieved persons wish to have their citizen rights preserved and protected? I understand that the proposal for setting up the tribunal has advanced to a certain stage. When can we expect to see the tribunal established and how in general terms, if it is possible to state them briefly, will it function?

Senator MURPHY -What the honourable senator says is correct in that the Government is proceeding with the proposals for an administrative review tribunal. Legislation has been drafted and that is still to be considered by the Government. I think perhaps it is unwise for me to go into the details of what it would cover. In general terms it is to provide appeals from administrative decisions, whether made by government departments, statutory authorities and so forth under the laws of this Parliament. The general notion is to have a tribunal to which appeals can be brought. Of course, such appeals would be decided on the basis of applying administrative standards. A much broader scope would be available to the review tribunal than would be available if a decision were being reviewed by a court which could apply only judicial, and in this sense some narrower, standards. For example, a court might be able to determine only whether proper procedures had been followed, whether some error of law had occurred or something of this nature whereas the review tribunal would be able to review all the facts and standards applied in an administrative way. I would hope that the matter could be put before the Parliament in the next few weeks.

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