The first Australian book to examine in depth the public law implications of government automation.
Australian governments are using technology to assist in the administration of the law and delivery of services to the community in a range of contexts, including tax, social security, immigration, health and national security. Use of automation by Australian governments has a mixed record of success. It allows governments to administer complex laws and deliver services more efficiently and accurately than humans could. However, recent experiences such as ‘Robodebt’ have highlighted that automation carries risks – for governments and citizens.
This book explores the implications, challenges and opportunities that automating government functions presents for our system of public law. It asks whether the laws and institutions we have in place to ensure accountability and transparency in government are fit for purpose in an age of automation. The book brings together judges, senior public servants, practitioners, and law and technology academics to interrogate these issues and find solutions that are workable from legal, technology and policy perspectives.
For readers new to the field, the book provides an entry point, including explainers on technology concepts commonly found in government automation. For readers familiar with developments in government automation, the book provides an opportunity to move beyond asking questions to exploring how elements of the public law system – both those that are familiar, as well as those less studied – can be adapted to preserve accountability and transparency in the digital age.
Foreword – The Hon Justice Duncan Kerr
1. iDecide: Digital Pathways to Decision – The Hon Justice Melissa Perry
2. Fairness in Automated Decision Making – Professor Matthew Groves
3. Evaluating Automation: The Need for Greater Transparency – Dr Darren O’Donovan
4. Better Decisions? Robodebt and the failings of merits review – Joel Townsend
5. Automated Decision Making and Human Rights: The Right To An Effective Remedy – Dr Maria O’Sullivan
6. Public Law Limits on Automated Courts – Dr Joe McIntyre & Dr Anna Olijnyk
7. Holding An Automated Government to Account?: The Role if Parliamentary Committees – Dr Sarah Moulds
8. Outsourcing Automation: Locking the “Black Box” inside a Safe – Dr Janina Boughey
9. Government procurement and project management for automated decision-making systems – Sarah Crossman & Rachel Dixon
10. Who Oversees the Government’s Automated Decision-Making?: Modernising Regulation and Review of Australian Automated Decision Making – Dr Marc Cheong & Dr Kobi Leins
11. Retaining the Citizen in the Loop – the role of the citizen in Digital Government – Katie Miller
12. Untapped Opportunities for the Use of AI in Comparing Legislation for National Reforms – Dr Guzyal Hill
13. Laws for Machines and Machine-made Laws – Professor Lyria Bennett Moses, Dr Janina Boughey and Dr Lisa Burton Crawford
…The Automated State helps address this pressing demand, as an important landmark for the study of predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (‘AI’), machine learning (‘ML’), and other statistical and computational methods for assisting administrators (and perhaps even taking on some of their work). The book includes much material of deep interest to judges, public servants, practitioners, and law and technology academics. By combining theoretical insights and practical references to national security, social security, immigration, health, and other contexts, the contributors both illuminate the present and suggest fruitful paths for further investment in (and control of) automation. Read full review…
Frank Pasquale, Jeffrey D Forchelli Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School, New York, 2022 44(4) Sydney Law Review 619.
This collection will be of particular interest to students and practitioners of administrative law, however I commend it to a wider readership due to the broader questions raised about our relationship with government, legislation and bureaucracy and the nature of justice and our role as citizens in the context of emerging technology. Read the full review …
Serena May, Tipstaff, NSW Court of Appeal, 2022, Vol. 47(3) 239–243 Alternative Law Journal