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Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Page: 9730

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (18:37): It is in a practical sense the issuance of the notice which will entail certain other administrative consequences. The test the minister will apply is he will need to be satisfied that the conduct has occurred. In our discussion earlier in the day, you raised, if I recall correctly, the question of the standard of proof. I think I said to you that that is an inapt expression, because 'standard of proof' is the expression we use to determine whether or not a court is satisfied as to whether or not either an element of a cause of action in a civil court or an element of a crime in a criminal court has been established.

We do not use the term 'standard of proof', ordinarily, when it comes to administrative decision-making. An administrative decision maker is satisfied that certain statutory criteria have been met. There is no inter partes process, as it were. There is no accuser and opposer. The minister is made aware of certain facts and circumstances on the basis of which he arrives at a view. Because there is no onus of proof, as it were, in this case, the language 'standard of proof' is not apt. So, it is no different from any decision of an administrative character made by an executive decision maker.