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Accountability, transparency and diversity – the importance of an independent tribunal appointment process

Speech delivered by Arthur Moses SC, President, Law Council of Australia at the 2019 Council of Australasian Tribunals National Conference, 7 June 2019.

"The theme of this conference is ‘Communicating Justice: Tribunals in the Community’. There are delegates here today from many different walks of life, including practitioners, professionals, judges and tribunal members. What we have in common with each other – and with the community we serve – is a shared commitment to natural justice and to the Rule of Law.

The first President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and Former Chief Justice of Australia, the Honourable Sir Gerard Brennan, AC KBE, once said that “However vaguely it may be perceived, however unarticulated may be the thought, there is an aspiration in the hearts of all men and women for the rule of law”.

It seems inconceivable that a concept so important as the Rule of Law can be so little understood, and its meaning so little agreed upon. Yet all too often we see the term used, with little thought as to what it actually means.

There is widespread agreement that the Rule of Law means that the law applies with equal measure to us all, regardless of fear or favour. That all are as entitled to its protection and to procedural fairness, as to the force of its rebuke. Institutional independence is therefore a natural requirement: not only independence of the Parliament, but also the Executive, the Judiciary and Tribunals, as well as the legal profession and the media."

You can read the full speech below.

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