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Keeping a watchful eye on military justice.



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THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

www.defence.gov.au

Wednesday, 26 November 2008 184/2008

KEEPING A WATCHFUL EYE ON MILITARY JUSTICE

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, The Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, today emphasised the importance of ever-vigilant oversight of Australia’s military justice system.

Opening the Defence Watchdogs Seminar at the Australian War Memorial, Mr Snowdon said he felt there were very few organisations that provide the options that are available to ADF members to resolve complaints, through avenues such as the Fairness and Resolution Centres, Inspector General Australian Defence Force (IGADF) and the Ombudsman.

“But independent review and monitoring will always be required to ensure our military justice system meets the expectations not only of ADF personnel, but of the Australian public; that it will be impartial, rigorous, fair, transparent and accountable,” Mr Snowdon said.

He highlighted the importance of the IGADF’s work as a military justice auditor and also acknowledged the progress of the current review by Sir Laurence Street and Air Marshal Les Fisher (Retired) into the effectiveness of recent military justice reforms.

He also congratulated the Defence Force Ombudsman on 25 years of administrative oversight of military justice.

The Defence Force Ombudsman was established in 1983 and Minister Snowdon said the role had provided a significant avenue for complaints about administrative actions and Defence Force employment matters.

“An effective military justice system is vital to maintaining command, retaining our people and our reputation and is ultimately critical to operational effectiveness,” said Mr Snowdon.

“And a transparent and fair system of military justice is enhanced through the existence of watchdogs like the Defence Force Ombudsman, who also works closely with the IGADF.

“The Ombudsman, the IGADF and now too the ANU Australian Centre for Military Law and Justice all contribute to the watchful eye that is essential for the ADF to have a best-practice military justice system.“

Media contacts: Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664