News Government appointments to AAT come under fire

Government appointments to AAT come under fire

Former NSW Liberal minister Pru Goward has been appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Photo: AAP
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The Morrison government has come under fire for appointing former Liberal MPs and coalition staffers to high-paying roles on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, just days out from the election being called.

Former NSW family and community services minister Pru Goward and former WA state MP Michael Mischin were among two of the 19 appointments to the tribunal made by Attorney-General Michaelia Cash on Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s former chief of staff Ann Duffield has also been given a role, as has Cheryl Cartwright, who is a senior adviser to Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

Another former WA Liberal, Peter Katsambanis, was also among the appointees to the body.

The appointments have attracted criticism from the opposition for politicising the tribunal and giving high-paying roles to party faithful.

Mr Mischin, who has been given the role of the tribunal’s deputy president, will receive a salary of almost $500,000 a year as part of the new position.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said the appointments were all about political favouritism.

“Rather than calling the election, the Morrison government is hanging on to power so they can hand out as many lucrative, taxpayer-funded jobs to themselves and their mates,” he said.

“While Australian families struggle with the cost of living and stagnant pay packets, Scott Morrison is throwing around cushy $400,000 a year jobs to former Liberal MPs and staffers.”

Senator Cash said all of the appointments made to the tribunal were highly qualified.

“The government is committed to ensuring the tribunal is well placed to deal with its increasing caseload,” she said.

“These appointments will provide the tribunal with more resources to conduct high-quality merits review with minimum delay.”

The Coalition has made a rush of appointments to government bodies, just days out from the federal election being called.

Monday also saw announcements of appointments to the Australian Competition Tribunal, and Australia Council board, as well as the Federal Circuit and Family Court.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to call the federal election some time in the coming week.

The election is slated to take place on either May 14 or May 21.