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‘A person directly affected by a decision’ will usually be the person the decision is about, but they may be a partner or ex-partner whose rights are substantially affected by an administrative decision. For example, someone who is directly affected by a situation may be a party whose Centrelink benefits are affected by a child custody decision, or a decision in Veteran’s Affairs to do with the pension of a deceased war veteran. Similarly, a person may object to an administrative decision that affects or is affected by recognition of a relationship. This is often to do with Centrelink benefits. A person directly affected who is not the primary party could also be a person involved in a guardianship order.

Some legislation provides for ‘interested parties’ to have standing to do with administrative matters. For example, under the Ombudsman Act 1978, if there is a question as to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to conduct an investigation into a complaint, an interested party may apply to the Supreme Court for a determination of the question of jurisdiction. Interested parties include the public authority by the action the subject of the investigation is alleged to have been taken; the principal officer of that authority, the responsible Minister in relation to that authority, the person who is alleged to have made the decision and the complainant (Ombudsman Act, s 32).

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