Overdue AAT reform welcomed


The CPSU welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to the long overdue task of reforming Australia’s federal administrative review system. This reform will see the Government abolish the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and replace it with a new body, expected to be in place towards the end of 2023.

The AAT has become a workplace increasingly plagued with poor culture, unreasonable workloads and significant bullying and harassment complaints.

Years of partisan appointments have distressed CPSU members working at the AAT as they have witnessed the impacts of a deteriorating culture on both AAT staff and the outcomes for applicants to the tribunal.

The AAT plays a critical role in our democracy, but that role has been fundamentally undermined as a result of the overt politicisation of the tribunal.

The establishment of a new body with a transparent and merit-based recruitment process, should see the administrative review system once more be fair, accessible, and independent.

We welcome the Attorney General’s commitment to working closely with the CPSU and frontline staff through this process. We understand that it is the Government’s intention that all current staff will transition across to the new body on equivalent terms and conditions.

This is welcome news, and the CPSU will be working to ensure that staff at the AAT are consulted with on the design of the new body and have job security through the transition.

Quotes attributable to CPSU National Secretary, Melissa Donnelly:

“The AAT has lost the confidence of the public and many of its employees after years of partisan appointments and significant increases in workplace bullying and harassment.

“The CPSU will be glad to see the back of partisan appointments, with a merit-based recruitment process set to be established as part of the new system.

“Those who work in the AAT deserve to have a safe, secure, and respectful workplace, where they are supported to do their important work. The current AAT is not that place.

“Our members at the AAT have performed their jobs to an exceptional standard given the conditions they are working in, but they deserve better. And our democracy needs them to be able to do their jobs without political interference.

“The CPSU will be advocating strongly for extensive consultation of AAT staff, so that their experience and expertise are at the centre of this reform.

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