Government Accountability

We all need Government Accountability

Government accountability requires government administrative bodies to exercise their power in accordance with the law. Specifically, decision-makers appointed by government should make their decisions fairly and with regard to applicable principles of natural justice. Additionally, government agencies should also exercise their power reasonably and in good faith. Unfortunately, often these fundamental principles are not observed.

In most cases, government decision-makers are required to observe the rules of fairness when making decisions that might impact your rights or interests. Accordingly, decision-makers should be impartial so that their decisions are free from bias. Additionally, government decision-makers should ensure you are aware of all the facts and factors that may influence them. Hence, they should give you the opportunity to tender evidence and make submissions about those facts and factors. Moreover, a decision-maker should be able to demonstrate that he or she has taken all relevant factors into account in making the decision. Further, the conclusion must be reasonable.

Decisions may be infected with error if:

  • the law has been misapplied;
  • facts and circumstances have been misunderstood;
  • the decision-maker has been inappropriately influenced; or
  • any decision exceeds the decision-maker’s jurisdiction.

The reasons for this might range from simple inexperience all the way through to bad faith. Irrespective, you should not be expected to suffer because of a bad and unlawful decision.

The difference we can make

If you are applying for registration as a charity, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) endorsements, deductible gift recipient (DGR) status, a fundraising license, a land tax exemption or a stamp duty exemption, errors can have a significant impact. Consequently, our detailed knowledge of the requirements of the law and expectations of regulators will increase the likelihood that decision-makers will make their decisions properly the first time.

Alternatively, you might be the subject of a complaint, investigation or enquiry. It might have been taken by the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board (NSSAB), the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, (ACNC), the ATO, the Queensland Revenue Office, the Office of Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) or a myriad of other regulators or funding providers. If so, we can help you ensure that:

  • the applicable agency properly directs and constrains the scope of any inquiries or investigations;
  • any decision-maker observes the principles of natural justice; and
  • you have preserved your rights, including any right to make an objection to the process or outcome.

Otherwise, you might suspect that a decision-maker has been improperly influenced or has made a decision for an improper purpose. If so, we can help you identify strategic and innovative approaches to investigating the relevant issues and taking action to have decisions undone and to vindicate your rights.

Finally, when a government decision-maker makes an adverse decision against you, you can count on us to be forthright and fearless advocates. The government must be required to operate within the law and must be held to account when it does not. 

Legal Services

Some examples of the kinds of services we provide to help ensure government accountability and integrity in its dealings include:

Applications for:

  • registration
  • endorsements
  • exemptions
  • private rulings.

Right to Information or Freedom of Information Requests.

Responding to information requests from government agencies, which may include:

  • ACNC
  • ATO
  • Office of Fair Trading
  • Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation
  • Queensland Revenue Office
  • Queensland Building and Construction Commission
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • ORIC
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • government departments via funding agreements
  • local government authorities.

Advice regarding ongoing reporting and compliance.

Internal review and External review/Merits review applications.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution.

Applications for Judicial Review.

Key Contacts

Matthew Turnour

Nathan Rieck

Chris Mills

Ben Maxwell

Make an appointment with one of our highly experienced Lawyers regarding your legal needs today.