Historic moment as AAT and Fast Track finally on the scrap heap


The ASRC welcomes news legislation has finally passed through Parliament which abolishes the defective Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and Fast Track’s notorious Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) to make way for a new tribunal and renewed focus on integrity.

The Government’s proposal for the new Administrative Review Tribunal (ART) came after the AAT lost public confidence following years of inappropriate and politicised appointments, lack of resourcing and poor processes which led to thousands of incorrect and unlawful outcomes for people seeking asylum.

In February 2024, the Administrative Review Tribunal Bills were referred to a Senate Committee for review and inquiry. Twenty-six organisations, including ASRC, provided submissions about the proposed legislation, with legal experts detailing concerns about the discriminatory and unfair processes for refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants, including exclusion from basic procedural fairness standards.

ASRC highlighted the starkly different standards included in the proposed legislation: a presumption of disbelief when raising claims for the first time, short and immoveable timeframes for compliance resulting in loss of rights, restricted requirements for the Tribunal to explain the reasons for a potential refusal, and exclusion from access to legal assistance in most cases.

These features disproportionately impact the most marginalised people in our community, including women fleeing gender-based violence, people with serious mental health conditions or who have experienced severe trauma, the LBGTIQ+ community and people with no access to representation.

Without fair process, there is an unacceptable risk of further incorrect decisions being made about refugee status, exposing people to forced return to persecution, detention and family separation.

Limited strengthening measures were made through amendments during the Bill’s passage through Parliament, with the Senate Committee recommending the Government refer concerns raised by experts in relation to migration and asylum matters to the Administrative Review Council once the new body is established. The Council will have  power to monitor integrity and operation, and provide advice and recommendations to Government about procedures and systemic issues.

Quotes attributable to:

Hannah Dickinson, ASRC’s Principal Solicitor
“The abolition of the IAA closes a dark chapter in Australian history, leaving in its wake an appalling volume of unlawful decisions and unquantifiable harm to individuals and families. It stands as a stark warning against eroding standards of fairness and justice for refugees and people seeking asylum.

“The reform of the Tribunal was a critical opportunity to heed those lessons. Instead, unless changes are made, the new Tribunal will retain uniquely discriminatory processes for refugees and people seeking asylum, undermining the integrity of its decision-making.

“It is critical that the concerns of experts be referred to the Council at the earliest opportunity so these defects can be rectified, ensuring the Tribunal is fair, just and accessible for all.”

Jana Favero, ASRC’s Head of Systemic Change
“We welcome the abolishment of the AAT and the Immigration Assessment Authority. Time and time again people seeking asylum have told us that one of the most important things is to be treated fairly.

“The establishment of the Administrative Review Tribunal (ART) is a huge step in that direction. Alongside refugees and community groups we have fought against flawed AAT decisions, stacked appointments and unfair decisions. This is a win for fairness, structural reform and refugee advocacy.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Albanese Government to address our concerns with procedural fairness for migration matters and restoring integrity and fairness in our migration system.”


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