Joe Francis is the kind of guy profile writers euphemistically label a "big personality”. A former Western Australian state Liberal minister and one-time submariner, he was described in his hometown newspaper The West Australian as a “self-confessed bogan who loves high-powered cars” who once “used the ashes of his beloved dog Sasha to ink a tattoo of her paw prints on his chest.”

In late February this year, three months before a federal election the Coalition expected to lose, Attorney-General Christian Porter appointed Francis as a full-time member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). His term runs until 2026, during which time he will be paid up to $245,000 a year. (At the same time, Francis’ former chief of staff, Stephen Barton, was also handed a part-time posting at the AAT).