The Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) requires that the Specialist Medical Review Council (the Council) consists of such number of members as the Minister determines from time to time to be necessary for the proper exercise of the functions of the Council.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs appoints members of the Council as part-time councillors and appoints one member as the convener of the Council.
The Minister must have regard to the branches of medical science expertise necessary for deciding matters referred to the Council.
Nominees must be registered medical practitioners or medical scientists, with at least ten years’ experience.
A councillor may be appointed for a period of no more than 5 years, but is eligible for reappointment.
If a particular review council includes the Convener, the Convener presides at all meetings of the Council, if they are unable to preside, they must appoint one of the councillors selected for that review to preside at all meetings.
SMRC councillors are appointed as part-time officers under Subsection 196ZE of the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 1986 (VEA).
|Professor Charles Guest||Convener||30/06/2024|
|Associate Professor Meagan Brennan||Councillor||30/06/2025|
|Dr Catriona Melville||Councillor||30/06/2025|
As medical specialists Councillors may have been invited by DVA or the Veteran and Defence Communities, to provide medical services, including treatment, opinion and research on the topic under review.
A conflict of interest arises when a Councillor has an affiliation or interest that might prejudice, or be seen to prejudice, their impartiality. These affiliations or interests may include individuals or groups with whom the Councillor is closely associated.
SMRC Councillors, as Statutory Office Holders, are bound under section 14 (2) of the Public Service Act 1999 to the APS Code of Conduct and the APS Values. In relation to Conflict of Interest the APS Values states that ‘the APS has the highest ethical standards’ and the Code of Conduct requires officials:
- Behave honestly and with integrity in the course of their employment,
- Disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with their employment, and
- Not to make improper use of:
- inside information
- the employee’s duties, status power or authority
In order to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or advantage for the employee or for any other person.
All SMRC Councillors are required to declare any actual or perceived Conflict of Interest. The declaration (DOC 27 KB) specifies that the Councillor can have a personal or professional relationship with an applicant*. However, where such a relationship exists, the declaration requires the Councillor to describe how that relationship could benefit them, or a member of their direct family, or whether that relationship could impact the review. On receiving the declaration the Council considers the impact of the declared relationship on the Review and initiates appropriate action.
* “Applicant” includes the Repatriation Commission, the Military Rehabilitation & Compensation Commission, member of the veteran community, current or former member (or their dependant) of the Australian Defence Forces or an organisation representing the veteran community or members of the Australian Defence Forces.