A SEMINAR in Parliament House, Canberra, last week marked the 30th anniversary of the Administrative Review Council (ARC).
Interested parties were invited by ARC president Jillian Segal to hear a presentation on the Future of Administrative Law.
“The Council is to be congratulated on its excellent work over the past 30 years and I encourage it to continue this excellent work well into the future,” Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.
Speeches were given by Sir Anthony Mason AC, KBE, former Chief Justice of the High Court; Lord Newton of Braintree, chairman, UK Council on Tribunals; Robert Cornall AO, secretary, Attorney-General’s Department; Katie Lahey, chief executive of the Business Council of Australia; and Peter Kell, CEO of the Australian Consumers’ Association.
Formed in 1976, the specialist body has given advice to the Attorney-General on pertinent improvements to Commonwealth administrative law.
In praising the ARC, Shadow Attorney-General Nicola Roxon used the opportunity to highlight the current state of the nation’s freedom of information laws.
“Ten years ago the ARC and the Australian Law Reform Commission issued a report, Open Government: a review of the federal Freedom of Information Act 1982, but there has still been no response from the Government,” she said.
“Last week’s High Court decision demonstrated that the Freedom of Information Act is still in desperate need of reform,” Roxon said, suggesting the 30th anniversary of the ARC was a fitting time for “the Attorney [to] honour the ARC by finally taking action on its advice of 10 years ago”.