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3.3.2 Background

The concept of SOPs has its genesis in the High Court decision in Bushell v Repatriation Commission [1992] 175 CLR 408.  In that case, the High Court held that where an expert in a relevant field submits a reasoned hypothesis of causation, it should be accepted as a reasonable hypothesis unless other expert medical opinion renders it obviously fanciful, impossible, incredible, untenable, too remote or too tenuous.  The High Court found that a hypothesis can still be reasonable even if unproved and against the weight of informed medical opinion.  This had the potential to widen the scope of successful compensation claims.

The Government responded with the creation of the Veterans' Compensation Review Committee chaired by Professor Peter Baume.  Its report - A Fair Go – recommended the establishment of an expert medical committee to ensure an equitable and consistent compensation system.

Consequently, the Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA) was established under section 196A of the VEA on 30 June 1994.