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Thematic Issue: Revitalising Legal Authorities

Revitalising Public Law in a Technological Era: Rights, Transparency and Administrative Justice


Yee-Fui Ng, Maria O’Sullivan, Moira Paterson and Normann Witzleb

This article examines how public law should be revitalised in light of the increasing use of technology in government decision-making. As the recent controversy concerning the implementation of an automated debt recovery system by the Department of Social Services illustrates, the automation of government decision-making engages fundamental legal principles such as transparency, procedural fairness and reviewability. The use of technology in administrative decision-making in Australia therefore raises a number of critical, and interlocking, questions: Is Australian public law fit for purpose to protect individual rights in automated governmental decision- making? If not, what reforms are necessary and how should they be instituted? This article will consider these issues in relation to three specific areas of public law: privacy law, freedom of information, and judicial review. In doing so, it sets out concrete recommendations for the revitalisation of Australian public law so that it may become more value-compliant and consistent with emerging international best practice standards.

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(2020) 43(3) UNSWLJ 1041: