Statement From Attorney-General, Christian Porter
Regarding appointments on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
It is not correct to say that anyone has been replaced at the AAT – appointments to the AAT are for set periods of up to 7 years and new appointments are made at the conclusion of fixed-terms.
Labor regularly appointed people who had connections to the Labor Party whether as MPs, former staff and union officials to various positions, including the AAT. Indeed there is nothing wrong with that as long as the candidates are well qualified, which very often is the case with respect to people who have been in involved in politics and public administration and, notably our Government has appointed several former Labor politicians to the AAT and other judicial roles because they are qualified for the role.
On the point of qualifications it has never been the case that AAT appointments have been exclusively made to lawyers. Indeed the system was designed to ensure a range of experience from other professions could be brought to the administrative decision making process.
A particular focus of this government in recent selections has been on the appointment of candidates that are likely to reflect community values in decisions and to ensure an appropriately broad skill set amongst its members.
I have and will continue to ensure that any appointments are made on merit.