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Law Council welcomes new AAT president

The Law Council has welcomed the appointment of the new Administrative Appeals Tribunal president, citing the importance of diversity of skill and experience to lead significant reforms.

user iconNaomi Neilson 26 May 2023 Big Law
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President Luke Murphy welcomed the Attorney-General’s announcement that the Honourable Justice Emilios Kyrou AO would take over the helm of the tribunal and lead it through major reform.

He also called on the newly built tribunal to build on the lessons learnt from the Attorney-General Department’s comprehensive Administrative Review Reform Issues Paper.

Mr Murphy said it was crucial that the AAT has an “appropriate number” of skilled and qualified members who are charged with “delivering accurate, fair and timely decisions”.


“Australia needs a robust administrative review body for Commonwealth decision-making, and the process being undertaken to replace the AAT is an opportunity to address some of the challenges that have arisen previously,” Mr Murphy said.

“Accessibility, independence and impartiality must underpin all aspects of the body. The new body must also prioritise rigorous and accurate decision-making and, most importantly, fairness.

“The diversity of the new body’s jurisdiction should be reflected in a diversity of skills, knowledge and lived experiences of its members.”

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced in December the AAT was to be abolished and reformed under new leadership following its “disgraceful exhibition of cronyism” under the former government.

Mr Dreyfus said the body in its previous state had been “irreversibly damaged” by the actions of the Coalition government in the last three years, including in its appointment of 85 Liberal MPs, former staffers and associates without a merit-based selection process.

In announcing Justice Kyrou’s appointment, acting Attorney-General Katy Gallagher said he is “widely recognised for his integrity, legal excellence, independence and intellectual capacity”.

Justice Kyrou has been a Supreme Court of Victoria judge since 2008 and worked as a Court of Appeal judge since 2014.

Earlier this year, Justice Kyrou was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the judiciary and the law, to professional associations and to the community”.

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