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Part 1—Preliminary

Part 1 Preliminary

   

1   Short title

                   This Act is the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Act 2020 .

2   Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3  Objects of this Act

             (1)  The main object of this Act is to provide for a Commissioner to examine defence and veteran deaths by suicide, in order to support the prevention of future such deaths.

             (2)  To achieve this object, the other objects of this Act are to:

                     (a)  establish the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention; and

                     (b)  empower the Commissioner:

                              (i)  to inquire into the circumstances of defence and veteran deaths by suicide; and

                             (ii)  to make findings and recommendations on systemic issues contributing to defence and veteran deaths by suicide and on trends and suicide risk factors for defence members and veterans; and

                            (iii)  to hear about the impact of defence and veteran deaths by suicide on families and others affected; and

                            (iv)  to promote understanding of suicide risks for defence members and veterans and factors that can improve the wellbeing of defence members and veterans.

4   Simplified outline of this Act

With the object of supporting the prevention of future defence and veteran deaths by suicide, this Act establishes the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention. Broadly, the Commissioner is to inquire into the circumstances of defence and veteran deaths by suicide and to make findings and recommendations relating to defence member and veteran wellbeing and suicide prevention strategies, and any reforms that might be needed.

The Commissioner has a range of powers to gather information.

The Commissioner must report to Parliament each year and may prepare additional reports as the Commissioner considers appropriate.

5   Definitions

                   In this Act:

accountable authority , of a Commonwealth entity, has the same meaning as in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 .

Australian Defence Force or ADF has the same meaning as in the Defence Act 1903 .

Australian intelligence entity means:

                     (a)  the Australian Secret Intelligence Service; or

                     (b)  the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation; or

                     (c)  the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation; or

                     (d)  the Defence Intelligence Organisation; or

                     (e)  the Australian Signals Directorate; or

                      (f)  the Office of National Intelligence.

authorised member : see subsection 36(2).

Commissioner means the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention appointed under section 16.

Commonwealth body means a Commonwealth entity, or a Commonwealth company within the meaning of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 .

Commonwealth entity has the same meaning as in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 .

defence and veteran death by suicide means the death of a defence member or veteran by suicide, or suspected suicide.

Defence Department means the Department administered by the Defence Minister.

defence member means a member of the Defence Force (within the meaning of the Defence Act 1903) .

Defence Minister means the Minister administering the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982.

document includes any book, register or other record of information, however compiled, recorded or stored.

eligible Judge : see subsection 63(1).

engage in conduct means:

                     (a)  do an act; or

                     (b)  omit to perform an act.

entrusted person means:

                     (a)  the Commissioner; or

                     (b)  a member of the staff assisting the Commissioner as mentioned in section 14.

head , of an Australian intelligence entity, means:

                     (a)  in relation to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation—the Director-General of Security; or

                     (b)  in relation to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service—the Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service; or

                     (c)  in relation to the Australian Signals Directorate—the Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate; or

                     (d)  in relation to the part of the Defence Department known as the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation—the Director of that part of the Department; or

                     (e)  in relation to the part of the Defence Department known as the Defence Intelligence Organisation—the Director of that part of the Department; or

                      (f)  in relation to the Office of National Intelligence—the Director-General of National Intelligence.

Home Affairs Department means the Department administered by the Minister administering the Australian Border Force Act 2015 .

IGIS official (short for Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security official) means:

                     (a)  the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security; or

                     (b)  any other person covered by subsection 32(1) of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 .

inquiry function means the function set out in paragraph 11(1)(a).

intelligence information means information:

                     (a)  that was acquired or prepared by or on behalf of an Australian intelligence entity in connection with its functions; or

                     (b)  that relates to the performance by an Australian intelligence entity of its functions; or

                     (c)  that identifies a person as being, or having been, a staff member (within the meaning of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 ) or agent of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service or the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Example:    For paragraph (a)—information provided to an Australian intelligence entity by a foreign government or an agency of a foreign government.

Judge : see subsection 63(1).

law enforcement or security agency means any of the following agencies:

                     (a)  the Australian Defence Force;

                     (b)  the Australian Federal Police;

                     (c)  the Australian Crime Commission;

                     (d)  the Home Affairs Department;

                     (e)  the police force of a State or Territory;

                      (f)  any other agency prescribed by the rules for the purposes of this definition.

legal practitioner means a barrister, a solicitor, a barrister and solicitor, or a legal practitioner, of the High Court or of the Supreme Court of a State or Territory.

official , of a Commonwealth entity, has the same meaning as in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 .

operationally sensitive information means:

                     (a)  information about information sources or operational activities or methods available to a law enforcement or security agency; or

                     (b)  information about particular operations that have been, are being or are proposed to be undertaken by a law enforcement or security agency, or about proceedings relating to those operations; or

                     (c)  information provided by a foreign government, or by an agency of a foreign government, where that government does not consent to the public disclosure of the information.

paid work means work for financial gain or reward (whether as an employee, a self-employed person or otherwise).

personal information has the same meaning as in the Privacy Act 1988 .

protected information means information (including personal information) made or obtained by an entrusted person for the purposes of this Act.

reasonable excuse means:

                     (a)  in relation to any act or omission by a witness before the Commissioner—an excuse which would excuse an act or omission of a similar nature by a witness before a court of law; or

                     (b)  in relation to any act or omission by a person summoned as a witness before the Commissioner—an excuse which would excuse an act or omission of a similar nature by a person summoned as a witness before a court of law; or

                     (c)  in relation to any act or omission by a person given a notice under section 32 or subsection 48(3)—an excuse which would excuse an act or omission of a similar nature by a person served with a subpoena in connection with a proceeding before a court of law.

secrecy provision means:

                     (a)  a provision of a law of the Commonwealth that purports to prohibit; or

                     (b)  anything done, under a provision of a law of the Commonwealth, to prohibit;

the communication, divulging or publication of information, the production of, or the publication of the contents of, a document, or the production of a thing.

State body means a department or authority of a State.

Territory body means a department or authority of a Territory.

use , in relation to information, includes make a record of.

veteran means a person who has served, or is serving, as a member of the Permanent Forces (within the meaning of the Defence Act 1903 ) or as a member of the Reserves (within the meaning of the Defence Act 1903 ).

6   Act binds the Crown

             (1)  This Act binds the Crown in each of its capacities.

             (2)  However, this Act does not make the Crown liable to be prosecuted for an offence.

7   Extension to external Territories

                   This Act extends to the external Territories.

8   Extraterritorial operation

                   This Act extends to acts, omissions, matters and things outside Australia and the external Territories.