The government justifies its reshaping of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal by claiming it brings it into line with 'community standards'. For some seeking the tribunal's judgement, the changes could mean life or death.
Appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal were once subject to review via a separate council... until the Abbott government gutted it.
With their mates at the top of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Liberal government was able to fill the ranks with former staffers, party faithfuls and failed candidates.
A job at the top of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is, by definition, apolitical. So why are so many gigs going to former Coalition politicians and staffers?
Members of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal are steadily losing their jobs and being replaced with people less qualified.
One's a former Western Australian state Liberal minister. The other was president of the Australian Liberal Students Federation. Both scored high-paying jobs on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Within the senior ranks of a tribunal that oversees appeals against government bodies, is a former lobbyist.
The attorney-general commissioned a review into the AAT, failed to disclose a key relationship and then shelved the findings for seven months while appointing more Liberal-linked members.
Michael Cooke is an ardent Tony Abbott supporter who has called children protesting climate change 'political pawns' in a 'climate alarmist cult'. He's also a member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
The federal government has appointed 65 members and senior members to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal over the past six years who have some kind of connection and or worked for the coalition, some of them with no legal qualifications. Inq does not suggest this is a reason they were appointed as a member, but it shows a significant shift compared to previous governments. Here are the 65: