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New appointment process for Defence Force chiefs

11 October 2001 Media Statement

New appointment process for Defence Force chiefs

A shake-up in the appointment process for Defence Force chiefs has been announced today by the Minister of Defence Mark Burton.

Under the Defence Act 1990, the Governor-General-in-Council appoints a Chief of Defence Force, and three Service Chiefs – Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of General Staff and Chief of Air Staff. The long-standing practice has been for the incumbent Chief of Defence Force to make a recommendation to the Minister of Defence, who seeks Cabinet approval before making a recommendation to the Governor-General.

"We are changing and expanding this process to better reflect practice in the wider state sector," Mark Burton said.

"To this end, the Government has asked the State Services Commissioner to manage a process for the selection of the Chief of Defence Force, Chief of General Staff and Chief of Air Staff, which all come up for appointment in February.

"The main aim of the appointment process is to ensure we get the best people in the key positions," Mark Burton said.

"Specifications for the positions will be agreed between the State Services Commissioner and the Government. The Commissioner will then seek expressions of interest in the positions from Defence Force officers of senior rank (Rear Admiral and Commodore, Major General and Brigadier, Air Vice Marshal and Air Commodore). The Commissioner will take advice from the Chief of Defence Force and Secretary of Defence before convening an interview panel, which he will chair.

"As Minister of Defence, I will receive recommendations from the panel on the candidates best suited to each position. Cabinet will then decide which candidates to recommend to the Governor-General-in-Council for appointment.

"The Government expects to be able to notify the Governor-General on the recommendations for appointment of the Chief of Defence Force, Chief of General Staff and Chief of Air Staff before the end of the year," Mark Burton said.


ENDS

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