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The Australian National University

Australia's Commonwealth Ombudsman 40 Years On—Achievements and Ten Challenges

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG (2017) 45 (3)

The statutory office of Commonwealth Ombudsman was created in 1977, as part of the new federal administrative law. In this article, marking the 40th anniversary of the appointment of the first Commonwealth Ombudsman, Professor Jack Richardson, the author describes the early history, including the resistance in some quarters to the model adapted from Sweden. He describes the innovations of the first ten ombudsmen and the frustrations and difficulties they faced. He then identifies ten issues on the future of the office: (1) whether it should be directly linked to the Parliament; (2) whether it should be served by a select committee; (3) how its funding should be maintained; (4) protecting the Ombudsman title; (5) retaining ministerial support in circumstances of differences; (6) overcoming official resistance; (7) addressing judicial hostility; (8) embracing new technology and generic reform; (9) embracing self-criticism and human rights analysis; and (10) engaging with comparative and international outreach and innovation.

Vol 45, Issue 3, 2017

Table of contents

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