The AAT manages our workload in the following divisions:
- Freedom of Information Division
- General Division
- Migration & Refugee Division (including the Immigration Assessment Authority)
- National Disability Insurance Scheme Division
- Security Division
- Small Business Taxation Division
- Social Services & Child Support Division
- Taxation & Commercial Division, and
- Veterans’ Appeals Division
Members of the AAT are statutory office holders appointed by the Governor-General under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975. Staff of the AAT are employed under the Public Service Act 1999.
View the AAT organisational chart (PDF, 202 KB)
Members of the AAT
The Tribunal consists of the President and members who may be appointed as:
- Deputy Presidents
- Senior Members
A Deputy President may be assigned as the Head of one or more divisions. A Deputy President or Senior Member may be assigned as the Deputy Head of one or more divisions.
Members are appointed by the Governor-General on a full-time or part-time basis. Appointments may be made for a term of up to seven years. Members may be reappointed.
Our members come from a wide range of backgrounds with expertise in areas such as accountancy, disability, law, medicine, migration, military affairs, public administration, science and social welfare.
The President and Deputy Presidents can exercise powers in any of the AAT’s divisions. Senior Members and Members may only exercise powers in the division or divisions to which they have been assigned.
The table of statutory appointments (PDF, 146 KB) sets out a full list of the AAT’s members, their dates of appointment, location and the divisions to which Senior Members and Members are assigned.
View the Conduct Guide for AAT Members (PDF, 205 KB)
The Hon Justice David Thomas
Justice David Thomas was appointed as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia and President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on 27 June 2017. He was previously a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and President of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal from October 2013.
Justice Thomas was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1979. He was a partner at Morris Fletcher and Cross from 1981 (and later the national firm Minter Ellison) where he predominantly practised in the field of dispute resolution. When he retired, he was the Senior Partner in Brisbane.
A Division Head is responsible for directing the business of the AAT in the division and exercises functions and powers under delegation from the President.
Mr Peter Britten-Jones
Deputy President Peter Britten-Jones is Division Head of the General Division. Mr Britten-Jones was appointed as Deputy President of the Tribunal on 1 July 2018 and as Division Head of the General Division on 20 March 2019.
Mr Britten-Jones was first appointed as a part-time senior member of the Tribunal in 2016. Prior to these appointments, Mr Britten-Jones was a solicitor and then a barrister, practising in civil and commercial litigation.
Ms Fiona Meagher
Deputy President Fiona Meagher is Division Head of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Division. Ms Meagher was appointed as a Deputy President of the Tribunal and as Division Head on 17 December 2020.
Ms Meagher was first appointed to the Tribunal as a part time Member in 2015 and as a full time Senior Member in November 2018. Ms Meagher has previously worked in worked in private practice and was a Member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal of Queensland.
Mr Bernard McCabe
Deputy President Bernard McCabe is Division Head of the Taxation & Commercial Division and the Small Business Taxation Division. Mr McCabe was appointed as a Deputy President of the Tribunal and as Division Head on 25 March 2016.
Mr McCabe was first appointed as a part-time member of the Tribunal in 2001 a full-time Senior Member in 2003. Mr McCabe was previously an Associate Professor of Law at Bond University. He was also a member of the legal committee of the Companies and Securities Advisory Committee between 1998 and 2001.
Ms Jan Redfern
Deputy President Jan Redfern PSM is Division Head of the Migration & Refugee Division. Ms Redfern was appointed as a Deputy President of the Tribunal and as Division Head on 21 March 2016 for a term of seven years.
Ms Redfern has previously served the AAT as a Senior Member from 2009 to 2014. She served as Principal Member of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal's Guardianship Division from 1 January 2015 and before that as a legal member and then Deputy President of the NSW Guardianship Tribunal.
Prior to these appointments Ms Redfern held a number of senior executive positions with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission from 1999 to 2008. In 2007 she was awarded a Commonwealth Public Service Medal for outstanding service to corporate and financial services regulation and enforcement.
Ms Karen Synon
Deputy President Karen Synon is Division Head of the Social Services and Child Support Division. Ms Synon was appointed as Deputy President of the Tribunal and Division Head on 17 December 2020.
Ms Synon was first appointed to the Tribunal as a part time Member in 2015. Prior to her appointment to the Tribunal, Ms Synon was a Member of the former Refugee Review Tribunal between 2001-2004 and the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal from 2004 until it was amalgamated into the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in 2015.
Deputy Division Heads
A Deputy Division Head assists the Division Head in directing the business of the AAT in the division and exercises functions and powers under delegation from the President.
Dr Irene O’Connell is Deputy Division Head of the Migration & Refugee Division.
The position of Registrar is a statutory office appointed by the Governor-General. The Registrar assists the President to manage the administrative affairs of the AAT and is:
- the Accountable Authority under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, and
- the agency head for the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999.
The Registrar also undertakes functions relating to the management of applications conferred by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 and other enactments.
The AAT’s Registrar is Sian Leathem who was appointed for a five-year term commencing on 7 April 2015.
Ms Leathem has over 10 years’ experience in tribunal management at both state (NSW) and federal level. She led the project team responsible for merging 22 existing tribunals into the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) and performed the role of Principal Registrar of that amalgamated tribunal.
Prior to her role at NCAT, she was the Registrar of the Workers Compensation Commission of NSW for five years.
Ms Leathem has relevant experience of the Commonwealth administrative review system and governance, finance, staffing and administrative arrangements, gained in her role as Assistant Registrar of the AAT over three years.
She also has a wealth of legal policy experience gained through various roles in the NSW Attorney General’s Department and in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
In 2002 Ms Leathem was awarded the Excellence in Government Legal Service Award by the Law Society of New South Wales and in 2014, received the Excellence in Leadership Award from the NSW Department of Justice. She was also awarded the Young Public Sector Leader Award by the Institute of Public Administration Australia in 2011.
The President, Division Heads and Registrar are assisted by the following persons who hold office as senior executives in the Australian Public Service.
||National Director, Tribunal Services
||Executive Director, Registry Operations
||Chief Information Officer
||Chief Corporate Officer
||Chief Legal Officer
||A/g Executive Director, Review Support
District Registry staff
Staff in AAT registries provide administrative and other support in managing applications in each division. Conference Registrars conduct the majority of conferences and other ADR processes.
The AAT has District Registries in each of the state capital cities and in Canberra. The registry service in Hobart is co-located with the Federal Court. Applications in the Northern Territory are managed from our other registries. The Supreme Court of Norfolk Island provides basic registry services on Norfolk Island.
Corporate and Enterprise Services staff
Corporate and Enterprise Services staff advise and assist the President and the Registrar, and provide a range of services for members and staff. They are responsible for business support services, communications, financial and human resource management, corporate legal and policy services, library and other information management services and technology services