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FOR – Documents — Attorney-General's Department; Order for the Production of Documents

Wendy Askew

At the request of Senator Cash, I move:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Attorney-General, by no later than 5 pm on 20 June 2023:

(a) all communications between the Attorney-General and/or his office and the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department, in relation to the resignation of Fiona Meagher as president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), announced on 1 December 2022;

(b) all documents, including file notes, minutes and briefing materials, relating to any meetings between the former AAT President and the Attorney-General or his office; and

(c) all documents, including correspondence, file notes, minutes and briefing materials, relating to any meetings between the former AAT President, the Honourable Fiona Meagher, and the Department.

Anthony Chisholm

ISHOLM (—) (): I seek leave to make a short statement.

Sue Lines

Leave is granted for one minute.

Anthony Chisholm

Fiona Meagher resigned as president of the AAT last year, and Senator Cash now wants to confect some kind of outrage around this. Why is that? Fiona Meagher was appointed to the AAT without any merit based selection process, and who was responsible? You guessed it—Senator Cash, as Attorney-General. Over nine years, Senator Cash and other Liberal attorneys-general appointed at least 85 other Liberal MPs, failed Liberal candidates, former Liberal staffers and close Liberal associates without any merit based selection process whatsoever. Senator Cash and the Liberal Party's motives are clear. This order for the production of documents is about protecting the Liberal Party's shameless stacking of the AAT. The Senate should not support Senator Cash's self-interested and disingenuous efforts to protect some of the most disgraceful exhibitions of political cronyism Australia has ever seen, which has come at enormous expense to taxpayers and to the credibility of Australia's administrative law more generally.

Sue Lines

The question is that general business notice of motion No. 247, standing in the name of Senator Cash and moved by Senator Askew, be agreed to.


Date and time: 11:55 AM on 2023-06-15
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 42
Total number of "no" votes: 20
Total number of abstentions: 14

Adapted from information made available by