Matters before courts and administrative tribunals
During the year the department was involved in the following matters before courts and administrative tribunals.
The department was involved in settling a Federal Court action brought against the Commonwealth alleging that the Commonwealth was complicit in the maltreatment of an Australian overseas.
The department continued to assist an inquiry by the Coroner’s Court of Victoria into the death of an Australian overseas.
The department is pursuing costs awarded in the department’s favour in relation to the department’s compliance with a subpoena.
The department continues to be involved in two employment actions in overseas courts brought by two former locally engaged staff members.
The department continues to defend an appeal with respect to an employment action brought in a foreign court by a former locally engaged staff member.
The department continues to defend claims for unfair dismissal brought by former employees following redundancies at an overseas post.
The department continues to seek a settlement relating to an unfair dismissal action brought in a foreign court by a former locally engaged staff member.
The department continues to defend against property-related proceedings brought in a foreign court by the current owner of land formerly owned by the Commonwealth.
The department continues to defend against an appeal brought against the department alleging breach of contract in relation to the relocation of an Australian mission overseas.
The department continued to be involved in proceedings in which a former employee at an overseas post was found guilty of embezzlement.
The Commonwealth settled on confidential terms a defamation case brought in the Supreme Court of New South Wales relating, inter alia, to a communication made by a departmental officer.
The department continues to seek to resolve the quantum of legal costs owing by the department following an adverse finding in the ACT Supreme Court in relation to a rent review determination.
A contractor injured in the course of her work in the department commenced proceedings against the Commonwealth and her employer for negligence and breach of contract.
The department continues to comply with discovery, subpoena and other document production obligations in a range of matters, including matters brought against the Commonwealth and other Australian Government agencies.
The department produced documents in proceedings brought against the Commonwealth by a family seeking damages arising out of their treatment on Manus Island, PNG and in Nauru while their protection claims were being processed.
The department was regularly involved in the service of documents through diplomatic channels relating to private litigation brought overseas and in Australia, and from time to time in the service of documents on foreign governments under the Foreign States Immunities Act 1985.
The department continued to be involved in applications before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) concerning passports matters. During the year two applications for review were dismissed and one application was settled. At the end of the financial year there were three active applications for review of passport decisions before the AAT. Seven applications were on hold or adjourned.
The department was the respondent in one application to the AAT in relation to decisions made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. The applicant withdrew from this matter.
The department successfully objected on jurisdictional grounds to a complaint lodged with the Fair Work Ombudsman by a locally engaged staff member.
A complaint was made against the department to the Australian Human Rights Commission alleging sex discrimination related to the department not including maiden names in passports.
The department is pursuing a small claims matter before the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal relating to grant funding not used for the approved project.