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Defence response to Report of the Independent Review on the Health of the Reformed Military Justice System.



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DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6127 1999, Fax: 02 6265 1545

Media Releases are available via e-mail if you register at www.defence.gov.au/media

MSPA 276/09 Friday, 21 August 2009

DEFENCE RESPONSE TO REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW ON THE HEALTH OF THE REFORMED MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, today released Defence’s response to the Report of the Independent Review on the Health of the Reformed Military Justice System.

The Report made 49 recommendations aimed at consolidating the last decade of reform and ensuring the ADF military justice system is properly positioned for the organisational challenges that lie ahead. The Chief of the Defence Force publicly released the Report in March.

“I can announce today that 45 of the recommendations have been unanimously agreed in whole, in part or in principle. Many are already in the process of being implemented,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.

“The findings of the Independent Review on the Health of the Reformed Military Justice System reinforce Defence’s commitment to delivering impartial, rigorous and fair military justice outcomes.”

Four recommendations were not agreed for the following reasons:

Recommendation 4. This recommendation proposed the establishment of a senior position to oversee the ADF Investigative Service (ADFIS) project implementation. This recommendation has been overtaken by the establishment of the ADFIS Governance Board and changed command arrangements for ADFIS. Consequently,

this recommendation is not agreed.

Recommendation 20. This recommendation proposes that the Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) would discontinue the practice of personally undertaking prosecutions. The DMP has the same statutory right of appearance under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 as civilian State and Territory Director of Public Prosecutions counterparts. This recommendation was not agreed as it was considered that to not allow the DMP to appear in matters before the Australian Military Court would undermine the role of the DMP.

Recommendation 26. This recommendation proposed an amendment to the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 so that a stay of execution of punishments affecting personal liberty imposed by a summary authority would not be automatic upon

DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6127 1999, Fax: 02 6265 1545

Media Releases are available via e-mail if you register at www.defence.gov.au/media

notification of an appeal, which is the current situation. Stakeholders considered there was no evidence at this time that vexatious appeals were being lodged to avoid the automatic imposition of a stay of execution of punishment. Therefore, implementation of this recommendation was considered premature. It is intended to revisit this recommendation after the amended summary discipline system has been in operation for at least twelve months.

Recommendation 43. This recommendation contemplated the transfer of administrative support functions for the conduct of the CDF Commissions of Inquiries to the Inspector General ADF. This recommendation was not agreed as it was considered inappropriate for the Inspector General ADF, as the internal watchdog for military justice, to become responsible for the administration of Commissions of Inquiry.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said a comprehensive Implementation Plan had been devised, providing steps for progression for further military justice reforms over the next three years.

“The Implementation Plan contains the organisational priorities for military justice action and reform in the period leading up to the next independent external review within the next 3-5 years,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.

“The Implementation Plan continues Defence’s ongoing commitment to responsible maintenance of, and improvement to, the military justice system, and consolidates existing review proposals into a single clearly articulated reform agenda.

“A great deal of work has been done over the last 4 years to improve the military justice system and a great deal of work remains to be done over the next 3 years.”

Media Note: The Defence Response to the Report of the Independent Review on the Health of the Reformed Military Justice System can be found on at: http://www.defence.gov.au/header/publications.htm#I

Please note Defence Media has a new phone number: 02 6127 1999.

The existing number will be automatically diverted to the new number for three months. The existing after-hours duty mobile 0408 498 664 will remain.

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664