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I read a while ago that the rejection rate for partner visas is close to 50%, yet I doubt that half of all visa applicants are illegitimate, which means that somewhere in there, genuine people with real relationships are being denied. What do you think causes this?
The more recent rejection rate is nearer 10%, not 50%.

I've also seen these figures of Partner visa rejection rates:
  • 53.8% in 2015-16 and 47% in 2016-17.
But 2017-18 was much lower, with 5.49% of Partner and PMV applications being refused, when submitted by a migration agent, but only 3.39% were refused when submitted by an individual, without a migration agent. (Migration agents often handle the more complex cases.)

More recent rates are nearer 10%.

In 2018-19, the refusal rate for the Subclass 820 visa was 7.19%

In 2019-20, the refusal rate was 4.84%

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