She was appointed to the tribunal in 2006, but with the increasing demands of running her law firm, she sought not to be re-appointed in 2017. However, the AAT president persuaded her to stay, she said, because the tribunal had no other specialists. in pharmaceutical patents.
Very few drug cases have since been reported and Dr Nicoletti has no plans to run for a new term when his term ends in 2022.
She noted that the tribunal’s work can often be time consuming because the AAT requires members to take on cases outside their area of expertise.
“Historically, I have dealt with a lot of social security cases and also tax law cases, customs cases, where you have to go through another area of law in order to be able to make a decision,” she said.
Records also show that five part-time members did no work for the AAT from 2018 to June 2021: Ms Boyce, Dr Couch, Mr Rafferty, Eric Knight and attorney Andrew Tragardh.
Although Mr Tragardh is named in documents the AAT handed to Parliament, he said he was never sworn in as a member, having declined the appointment due to health concerns.
The mandates of MM. Rafferty and Stefaniak expired earlier this year, before the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The court noted that reasons why part-time members were not recording any time in a given year could include their saying they would not be available due to personal or professional circumstances, or little or no cases were attributed.
AAT Registrar Sian Leathem had fought to keep details of the workload and cases of individual members secret. However, the court produced the documents after the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs unanimously rejected its reasons, including fears it would bring the AAT into disrepute.
Senators will spend the next five months digging into the AAT and nominations within its ranks after Labor’s Kim Carr teamed up with One Nation leader Pauline Hanson to lobby for it. a committee investigation.
Senator Carr has strongly criticized the opaque nomination process. Over the past eight years, he says the government has appointed 79 former Liberal politicians, candidates, staff and party members.
“It is high time the Senate looked at the tribunal under the microscope, as well as other long neglected aspects of Australia’s administrative review system,” he said.
“Members of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal are tasked with making decisions that change the lives of tens of thousands of Australians every year, for example whether an older Australian receives an old age pension, whether a veteran receives a pension of service, if an NDIS participant receives funding for essential supports or if a refugee obtains a visa to stay in that country.
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