Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Further Safeguards For Defence Bill

Joint News Release

Attorney-General
Minister For Defence

The Hon. Daryl Williams AM QC MP

The Hon. John Moore MP
23 August 2000 MIN229/00

Further Safeguards For Defence Bill

Cabinet yesterday considered the report of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Reference Committee into the Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid to Civilian Authorities) Bill. The Committee reported last Wednesday.

The Government has agreed to address the Committee's concerns about some aspects of the Bill by adopting all of the Committee's recommendations. A number of these recommendations will require Government amendments to the Bill. The Government will move these amendments in the Senate when the Bill is debated next week.

State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments have always had the power to request call out of the Defence Force in Australia in rare situations where police need help to deal with an extreme emergency, such as a terrorist incident. The public would expect no less.

The Bill does not change the circumstances under which the Defence Force can be called out on Australian soil to aid police. Contrary to claims by some commentators, the Bill in no way permits the Defence Force to be used against peaceful protests, nor does it permit force to be used which in the circumstances is unreasonable.

However, there is currently no legislation outlining the process governing call out by the Commonwealth to protect its own interests. Existing legislation governing call out at the request of a State or Territory to protect that State or Territory from civil unrest or domestic violence is antiquated and unworkable.

The Bill will for the first time set out the Commonwealth's call out process in legislation. It will clarify the State and Territory process and include significant safeguards and accountability requirements on the exercise of a range of powers under the Bill.

The Senate Committee recommended further safeguards and accountability measures to which the Government has agreed.

The Committee recommended that the legislation should be reviewed thoroughly once it has been in operation for some time. In response, the Government has agreed to give an undertaking that a parliamentary committee will review the legislation within 6 months of any call out of the Defence Force or if there is no call out, within three years of the commencement of the legislation. The parliamentary committee will have the ability to take submissions from the public, State and Territory governments and their agencies and the Defence Force.

Cabinet also agreed to enhance parliamentary scrutiny of any incident of call out. Under the original Bill, if Parliament was not sitting some time may have elapsed before a report was provided to Parliament on the use of the Defence Force. In recognition of the proper role of Parliament, the Government will now seek an amendment to ensure that Parliament is informed of the use of the Defence Force within seven days, irrespective of the sitting calendar.

The Government will extend the prohibition on the use of the Reserves in relation to an industrial dispute in any circumstances under the Bill. Currently, use of the Reserves in connection with an industrial dispute is prohibited only when the troops are called out at the request of a State.

The Government will also amend the Bill to ensure that the Commonwealth notifies the State or Territory concerned when it has called out the Defence Force.

Finally, the Government will move an amendment that the authorisation for a deliberate assault must be made by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Defence or the Attorney-General, and not delegated to another Minister. The Government considers that this accords with the key role of these Ministers in the original decision to call out the Defence Force.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little...

“The advice I have received indicates that it is likely to be around February before the re-entry proper gets underway, by breaching the 30m seal.” More>>

 

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuilding: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Loses In Supreme Court: Call For Debate On Prisoners' Right To Vote

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels