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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Page: 106

Ms GEORGE (4:56 PM) —Mr Deputy Speaker, I have been placed in a position where debate is occurring on a very important issue to do with future changes to procedures involving our Australian Defence Force personnel, and I am at somewhat of a loss to understand why the debate may be curtailed at this point in time. As I understand it, we have an amendment moved by the shadow defence minister in the second reading debate on the Defence Legislation Amendment Bill 2006 that says:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

“while not declining a second reading for this Bill, the House believes that as the provisions for the establishment of an Australian Military Court are not in line with Chapter 3 of the Constitution as recommended by the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee report of June 2005, and as the appointments to the court and juries are restricted to serving military personnel, the new court can never be separate from the chain of command and the provisions of the Bill therefore maintain the longstanding unsatisfactory compromise which denies the true independence, fairness and objectivity essential for the proper functioning of the military justice system”.

In earlier debate on this bill, the shadow minister for defence enumerated at some length the opposition’s claims as to why the bill before us is insufficient in its scope for us to be able to support it without the amendment moved by the shadow minister. I understand, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the member for Werriwa is going to amplify the position put by Shadow Minister McClelland. No doubt, following his contribution others on our side of the chamber will elaborate in some further detail the issues that come to us in this bill, if that is all right with you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jenkins)—I thank the member for Throsby.