Attorney-General’s Consultancy on Artificial Intelligence and Automation


By Yee-Fui Ng

In March, the Castan Centre was proud to win a consultancy tender of $130,000 to prepare a legal issues paper for the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. The paper explored the legal implications of the government’s use of new and emerging technologies that automate government administration and service delivery in Australia. This included assessing the implications of integrating technology into public service provision, such as the controversial ‘Online Compliance Intervention’ scheme employed by the Department of Human Services, which became widely known as ‘Robodebt’.

Our team, made up of Deputy Maria O’Sullivan, Associate Yee-Fui Ng, and colleagues Moira Paterson and Normann Witzleb interviewed numerous government departments and agencies on their use of automation and new technologies, including rule-based systems, machine learning and chatbots, and interviewed non-governmental agencies on the implications of the government’s use of technology.

The team’s issues paper made recommendations on the consistency of the Commonwealth government’s use of new technologies with administrative law principles, human rights law and information law, which the Attorney-General’s Department will utilise in informing a whole-of-government strategy towards the regulation of artificial intelligence within the integrity law frameworks.

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