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Tuesday, 30 May 1989
Page: 3045


Senator JENKINS(9.27) —I move:

(27) Pages 50 and 51, clause 26, proposed section 61, line 37 (page 50) to line 12 (page 51), leave out the proposed section, insert the following sections:

Internal review of certain decisions

`` `61. In spite of any other provision of this Act, until the regulations provide otherwise, a decision under this Act, other than a decision of the Minister, must, on application by a person adversely affected by the decision, be reviewed by a review officer.

Review by the Tribunal

`` `61a. In spite of any other provision of this Act, until the regulations provide otherwise, a decision of a review officer or the Minister under this Act must, on application by a person adversely affected by the decision, be reviewed by the Tribunal.

Disallowance of part of a regulation

`` `61b. (1) In spite of any provision of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, but otherwise without prejudice to the operation of that Act, a House of the Parliament may pass a resolution disallowing part of a regulation made for the purposes of section 61 or 61a and the part so disallowed shall thereupon cease to have effect.

`` `(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a reference to a part of a regulation includes a reference to any provision of, or words, figures, drawings or symbols in, a regulation.'.''.

This amendment relates to the review of decisions. Some improvements have been made in the legislation. The Government, by its own amendments, has made certain substitutions in proposed section 61. However, the Democrats have sought, all along the line, a further review of decisions. This amendment would leave the present two levels of review as proposed by the Government. The first level of review would be carried out by a review officer. We regard that as something that should be automatic after a decision within the Department. If the person comes back and says that the adding up has been done wrongly, or that a certain circumstance has not been taken into consideration, that review should automatically be reviewed internally.

The next level of review is that by the Immigration Review Tribunal. Although it is not what the Democrats recommended, as it has been proposed by the Government and agreed to by the Opposition we would be happy to leave that level of review in place. However, the Democrats are proposing a third level where there is a need for a further review. This review could be carried out by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. It has been our proposition all along the line that if an initial application is made before staff who give full information to the prospective migrant about the likely number of points, and so on, and if there is then a proper review by a review officer, very often matters will not be taken any further. As I said before, it is really only the family reunion categories that proceed further. If people know where they stand-and here I agree with the Minister and with Senator Alston-it makes things easier for them. But if the procedures are so tight that people feel genuinely that they are disadvantaged, they will seek reviews, and the matter will go on and on. The proposal in amendment No. 27 is to leave out the Government's clause 61 and insert new clauses 61, 61a and 61b.