According to Fairfax Media, the Federal Court found that a previous tribunal’s decision to reject Roseanne Howes’ claim contained a “fundamental” error.
However, the court made no finding that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) public servant was treated with sarcasm, aggression and bias
by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) when she first took her case to court.
Howes argued that her long working hours spent hunched over computers at work left her with serious neck and shoulder pain – which she had already been compensated for – and which made her put on weight which prompted the need for the surgery.
Giving evidence to the tribunal, Howes also alleged that prior to her neck and shoulder condition, her bust measurements had been several sizes smaller.
She said that the breast reduction surgery – plus a tummy tuck procedure she had undergone at the same time – had reduced her need for pain medication.
The Federal Court found that the original decision denying Howes compensation had ignored large amounts of evidence presented by Howes’ legal team.
“In my respectful view, there is little or no doubt that, inexplicably, the AAT failed to address the case as put by the applicant,” said Judge John Griffiths in his decision.
Justice Griffiths suggested that the AAT should consider Howes’ serious allegations against member Dr Marella Denovan when the case returned to the tribunal for consideration.
Howes was awarded costs by the court.
A public servant has won her legal battle to have her $20,000 breast reduction surgery covered by the Commonwealth government.