Terry Carney lost his job as a member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) via a short, blunt email. It arrived five months after he delivered a tribunal decision which declared Centrelink’s robo-debt scheme to be illegal -- a finding that angered the federal government. 

“I had one of those feelings in my bones,” he remembers as the day approached for his contract to be renewed -- or not. “I actually sort of paused and looked around in the hearing room when I completed what I knew might have been -- proved to be -- my last hearing.”