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Since the mid 1970s there have been important developments in Commonwealth administrative law, including the passage of legislation:
- setting up the Administrative Appeals Tribunal;
- establishing the office of Commonwealth Ombudsman;
- providing for the judicial review of decisions;
- providing for access to information; and
- protecting the right to privacy.
The overall result is that the citizen has, in addition to the High Court, a number of avenues of review with respect to decisions by Commonwealth administrators. Each provides a different approach and each has its own place in a comprehensive scheme for the redress of grievances. In addition, there is legislative protection of personal information, and rights of access to general and personal information.
Defence Service Homes operates in this administrative environment where the activities of the organisation can be scrutinised under a number of separate legislative provisions. These include the Ombudsman Act 1976 (review of administrative actions), the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (judicial review of decisions), and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (review of decisions). The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (right of access to information) and the Privacy Act 1988 (protection of personal information) place additional responsibilities on the organisation and its staff.
Those provisions which may have a regular impact on DSH activities are explained in these Guidelines, which also include any relevant common law principles and statements of policy.