Appeals against security assessments
What is the Security Appeals Division?
The Security Appeals Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) reviews adverse and qualified Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) security assessments.
Who are the Members of the Security Appeals Division?
When conducting a review, the Tribunal is constituted by a Presidential Member and two other Members of the Tribunal who have been assigned to the Security Appeals Division. At least one of the two other Members will be a person with knowledge of, or experience in relation to, matters of the kind to which the assessment is related.
What decisions can be reviewed?
The Tribunal only has power to review an adverse or qualified security assessment that has been made by ASIO. The Tribunal has no power to review security assessments conducted by agencies other than ASIO.
Where ASIO provides a Commonwealth agency with an adverse or qualified security assessment in respect of a person, the Commonwealth agency concerned is generally required to notify the person within 14 days, give them a copy of the assessment and inform them of their right to apply to the Tribunal for a review.
How do I apply?
A person who has received an adverse or qualified security assessment from ASIO may apply in writing to the Tribunal for a review of the assessment.
The applicant must lodge the following material with his or her application:
A copy of the ASIO security assessment; and
A statement indicating the part(s) of the assessment which the applicant does not agree with and setting out the grounds on which the application is made.
The application is to be made within 28 days of receipt of the notice of the assessment, but an application for an extension of time can be made to the Tribunal.
The application for review should be sent to:
The District Registrar
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
GPO Box 9955
CANBERRA ACT 2601
What are the application fees?
The fee for lodging an application is $816. A reduced fee of $100 is payable if the applicant:
Is receiving legal aid for the application;
Holds a health care card, a pensioner concession card, a Commonwealth seniors health card or any other card issued by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs or the Department of Veterans' Affairs that certifies entitlement to Commonwealth health concessions;
Is in prison or lawfully detained in a public institution;
Is under 18 years of age; or
Is receiving youth allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY.
The Registrar may also reduce the fee to $100 if paying the full fee would cause the applicant financial hardship.
If a full fee is paid, most of the fee will be refunded if the application is resolved in the applicant's favour. The refund amount is the difference between the fee paid and $100. So, if you paid $816, you get back $716. There is no refund if a reduced fee was paid.
More information, including a form to apply to have the fee reduced on financial hardship grounds, is available from the Information about application fees page.
What are the review procedures?
On receiving an application for review, the Tribunal sends a copy of the application, and a copy of the statement lodged with the application, to the Director-General of ASIO and to the Commonwealth agency to which the assessment was given.
The Tribunal's proceedings are conducted in private. The hearings are informal with as little technicality as possible. The Tribunal is not bound by the rules of evidence and may inform itself on any matter in such manner as it thinks appropriate.
It is up to the Tribunal to determine who may be present during a hearing. The parties may appear in person or be represented.
At a hearing the Tribunal takes evidence on oath or affirmation.
The Tribunal first hears evidence and submissions by ASIO and the Commonwealth agency concerned, then evidence and submissions from the applicant, if he or she so desires.
Findings of the Tribunal?
At the conclusion of the review, the Tribunal makes its findings in relation to the assessment, and those findings may express the opinion of the Tribunal as to the correctness of, or justification for, any opinion, advice or information contained in the assessment.
The Tribunal provides copies of its findings to the applicant, the Director-General of ASIO, the Commonwealth agency to which the assessment was given and the Attorney-General.
Review of the Tribunal's findings
At any time after the completion of the review (other than a review of a security assessment made for the purposes of section 202(1) of the Migration Act) the applicant may apply to the Tribunal for a review of the findings of the Tribunal on the ground that the applicant has fresh evidence of material significance that was not available at the time of the previous review.
Can an application for appeal be lodged?
An application can be lodged with the Federal Court under section 44 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 for a review of the Tribunal's decision on a question of law.
Where an applicant is, in the opinion of the Tribunal, successful, or substantially successful, in an application for review, and the Tribunal is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so in all the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal may order that the reasonable costs of the applicant in connection with the application be paid by the Commonwealth.