Merit-based selection panel to oversee appointment of SA Employment Tribunal Commissioners


The State Government has announced it has formed a panel of five leading legal, industrial and workplace employment professionals to oversee a merit-based selection process for the appointment of Commissioners to the SA Employment Tribunal (SAET).

Treasurer Rob Lucas said the expert panel, to be chaired by former Senior Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission, Matthew O’Callaghan, would provide advice to him, as Minister for Industrial Relations, on the appointment of Commissioners under the South Australian Employment Tribunal Act 2014.

Mr Lucas said the panel would comprise representatives of both employer and employee groups and, unlike the former Labor government, would not include a Ministerial staffer.

“The Marshall Government was elected on platform of transparency and accountability and this move to a merit-based selection panel is another step in that direction,’’ said Mr Lucas.

“We see great value in having a group of highly-skilled professionals, with significant collective experience in all aspects of workplace law, employee and industrial relations, advising the government on the appointment of Commissioners to the SA Employment Tribunal.”

The SAET is empowered, under the Act, to rule on the rights and liabilities arising out of employment, including industrial disputes, unfair dismissal cases and Return to Work matters.

Mr Lucas said the current terms of seven of SAET’s 12 Commissioners were due to expire in June and July this year. Another two positions would be vacated due to a resignation and an impending retirement (in October).

“The government rejected the option to automatically reappoint the seven Commissioners in favour of going to a full merit-based selection process,” said Mr Lucas.

“Of course, and it’s important to note, all Commissioners whose terms are due to expire in coming months will be invited to re-apply through this process.”

Commissioners will be appointed on a maximum 3-year term upon the ultimate approval of Cabinet.

The panel comprises: Matthew O’Callaghan (chair), John White, Mick Doyle, Morry Bailes and Leah McLay.

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