11 December 2011

Unveiling and Dedication of the North Bondi War Memorial

Unveiling, Dedication & Donation of North Bondi War Memorial from Bruce Macbryde on Vimeo.

Return to blogging after a busy 2011

I am returning to blogging. The last eight months have been some of the most busiest times I have ever experienced in my life. Thus I was not able to blog often.

The North Bondi War Memorial was finally unveiled and dedicated on 27 November 2011. I must admit earlier this year that when I undertook spearheading the project I had no idea the number of hours required and obstacles which needed to be overcome in order to make the war memorial a reality. It was an absolute privilege and honour to have worked on this very special war memorial -- on the world famous beach of Bondi. I thank my RSL colleagues for the opportunity, their trust and faith in me, the team work and support shown me over the last year.

The September foot surgery went well though I had no real downtime and was still spending time from my hospital bed working on the war memorial. Unfortunately I face two more surgeries on the foot in the upcoming year and in 2013.

Business studies have been going well. This past semester saw me pulling out my hair at nighttime classes in accounting. I'm so glad it's over and summer holidays are upon me - no more school until February 2012.

Six achievements that I'm proud of this year: (1) my appointment by the New South Wales Governor to a five year term as Justice of the Peace [I took my judicial oath of office and oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II in June]; (2) my admittance as a member of the New South Wales Bar Association (as a non-practicing barrister); (3) successful completion of the Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs - National Training and Information Program as an Advocate; (4) my appointment as an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management; (5) election as a Council Member of the Royal United Services Institute of NSW; and (6) my involvement with the North Bondi War Memorial project.

I just returned from a very nice holiday in beautiful Yamba, New South Wales with my Aussie relatives. This gave me a chance to meet the latest addition to the O'Connor Clan. Little Harry is a real shaker and mover at just 7 weeks old.

In 2007 I moved home to Australia and I can now say I finally feel settled. Shortly after moving home to Sydney I felt a strong sense of duty to country and patriotism. As some know in 2008-09 I was a candidate for the Royal Australian Air Force for flight status but unfortunately received a Class 4 Medical disqualification (permanently medically unfit) in 2009 due my previous spinal cord injury. My work over the last year on the war memorial provided me with the opportunity to give back to the community and our great country. The experience has enriched my life more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for when I first moved home in 2007.

In 2012 I will be devoting more of my attention to the blog and giving some focus to Australian DVA claims - specifically MRCA claims.

22 November 2011

DFDAT releases opinion in Low v. Chief of Navy

Today the Australian Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal released its decision in Low v. Chief of Navy [2011 ADFDAT 3] which was an appeal in a court-martial conviction.

A Restricted Court-martial was convened in March 2011 to try the Navy petty officer for an incident occurring in Papua New Guinea which included allegations of the commission of the act of indecency against a fellow sailor, assaulting a subordinate, use of insulting words in a public place, and prejudicial conduct contrary to section 60(1) of the Defence Force Disciplinary Act. The petty officer was found guilty pursuant to his pleas of two charges and after a trial guilty on the first count.

The appeals tribunal did not grant leave to appeal four grounds, but granted leave to appeal on the ground the conviction was unreasonable or that it cannot be supported by the evidence. However, the tribunal rejected that contention.

09 October 2011

Female Australian soldier is alleged to have been sexually assaulted on operations

A female Australian soldier serving in the Middle East area of operations was allegedly sexually assaulted at a military base in Tarin Kot, Uruzgan Province, last month while on deployment in Afghanistan.

The soldier reported the alleged assault to superiors on Wednesday (5 October, 2011) and the matter is now the subject of an investigation according to a press release by the Australian Defence Force ("ADF") last night.

Further details regarding the alleged assault will not be released by the ADF whilst the investigation is underway.

Meet the Press transcript available from MINDEF's interview

MINDEF Stephen Smith's interview this morning with Meet the Press' Hugh Riminton is available here.

New Aussie environment simulation centre to enhance soldier protection

A new facility to test combat clothing will help to provide enhanced protection for Australian soldiers, the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon announced last Friday.

Mr Snowdon opened a new $4 million environment test facility at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Melbourne.

“Our servicemen and women deserve the best possible protection and this facility will enable scientists to develop protective clothing suitable for a range of hazardous and toxic environments,” Mr Snowdon said.

“This state-of-the-art facility can simulate any natural environmental condition that ADF personnel are likely to encounter between -20° to +50° Celsius.”

DSTO researchers will use the multi-purpose environment simulation facility to assess the performance and function of ADF clothing including existing uniforms, developmental materials, and new design options.

They will also be able to assess the limits of human physiological performance in climatic extremes.

A key feature of the facility is a full-size, articulated mannequin that mimics human movement, enabling scientists to make objective, full system assessments rather than relying on the claims of manufacturers.

“This is a major improvement on the existing system of testing which used small swatch samples cut from uniforms or rolls of cloth,” Mr Snowdon said. “The fully kitted-out, moving mannequin will substitute as a virtual soldier and allow the entire ensemble to be evaluated in a holistic way.”

“This new facility significantly enhances DSTO’s support to the ADF’s integrated force protection capability and will help to refine the design of combat clothing, so it offers more comfort, protection and integrates better with other combat equipment,” he said.

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (10 October 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Both Houses of Parliament are sitting this week.

The following Committee hearings are occurring which concern the subject matter of this blog:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, hearing on Effectiveness of the Australian Government's response to Australian citizens who are kidnapped and held for ransom overseas, 1750 - 1950 hours, Committee Room 2S1 Parliament House. Terms of referen can be found here and submission here. ASIO's unclassfiled submission can be found here.

House and Senate Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, hearing on Inquiry into Australia's Human Rights Dialogues with China and Vietnam, 1300 - 1400 hours, Committee Room 1R4. Terms of reference can be found here and submissions here.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

House and Senate Joint Committee on National Capital and External Territories, hearing on Inquiry into administration of the National Memorials Ordinance 1928, 0800 - 0900 hours, Committee Room 2S3 Parliament House. Terms of reference can be found here. The Returned & Services League of Australia's submission can be found here and other submissions can be found here. [Disclaimer: I am a member and office holder within the RSL.] (The hearing will continue on Friday, 14 October 2011.)

Friday, 14 October 2011

House and Senate Joint Committee on National Capital and External Territories, hearing on Inquiry into administration of the National Memorials Ordinance 1928, 0800 - 0900 hours, Committee Room 2S3 Parliament House. Terms of reference can be found here. The Returned & Services League of Australia's submission can be found here and other submissions can be found here. [Disclaimer: I am a member and office holder within the RSL.]

High Court of Australia

No happenings this week in the High Court with respect to the subject matter of this blog.

Federal Court of Australia

Daily Listings can be found here. No cases are being heard by the Full Federal Court this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 27 and 28 October 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

06 October 2011

U.S. Senate and House introduce legislation to give Supreme Court access to troops


[UPDATED]

For those of us born in the late 1960s or early 1970s you might recall the television commercial of the wise Mr Owl with the boy asking asking him "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?" I pose this question: How many Congresses will it take before lawmakers grant servicemembers equal access to the United States Supreme Court?

Today legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to fix a longstanding inequity in American law, 28 U.S. Code section 1259, that would permit court-martialied servicemembers to petition the U.S. Supreme Court if the nations highest military court denies review of their case or denied relief in extraordinary writ cases.

The two bills were introduced this afternoon in both houses by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.).

Under existing law, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ("CAAF") acts as the gatekeeper in all military appeals to the Supreme Court. Unless CAAF grants review of a petition for review or grants relief in an extraordinary writ case the Supreme Court is barred from reviewing the case of a court-martialed servicemember.

Mr Owl: How many Congresses will it take to grant members of the U.S. Armed Forces access to the U.S. Supreme Court?

The Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2011, HR 3133 and S1664 is the fourth attempt since 2005 by lawmakers to correct the inequity in 28 USC 1259 by introducing legislation. Rep. Davis' introductory remarks on the House floor can be found here and Senator Feinstein's introductory remarks in the Senate can be found here.

In April 2004, during the 108th Congress, Rep Davis and then-Congressman John McHugh (R-NY) (now Secretary of the U.S. Army) sent this bipartisan letter to Department of Defense General Counsel William Haynes II inquiring about an inequity in 28 USC 1259 which I raised. Mr Haynes responded to the lawmakers by opposing any change arguing that there would be an increased burden on the Supreme Court should the law be changed.

In 2005, a similar bill, like the ones introduced today, was introduced in the 109th Congress, HR 1364, but was held up in Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith's subcommittee in the House Judiciary Committee in 2005-06. Rep. Smith refused to permit any hearings on the matter when he chaired a subcommittee having jurisdiction of the issue.

September 2008 saw the 110th Congress, the full House of Representative pass similar legislation in, HR 3174, despite these objections raised by Rep. Smith on the House floor during debate. In the waning days of the 110th Congress the Senate did not have sufficient time to act.. During that same Congress the Senate Judiciary Committee had favorably reported, S2052, which was a similar measure introduced in the Senate by Senator Feinstein and then-Senators Hilary Clinton, Russ Feingold and Arlen Specter.

The last Congress, the 111th, the House Judiciary Committee - then under Democrat control favorably reported, HR 569, an identically worded bill to the full House. This was done, again with objections from Rep. Smith.


Strong GOP opposition to American GI's accessing nation's highest court

Much of the opposition from the GOP stemmed from the George W. Bush administration when William J. Haynes II (pictured to the left) was the General Counsel for the Department of Defense. Unfortunately today's GOP lawmakers continue to regurgitate Haynes' positions without looking at the facts, statistics and military law expert testimony.

I was very disappointed last year when a former Army judge advocate general now turned GOP Congressman, Tom Rooney from Florida, completely failed to see the issue, ignored facts, statistics and instead chose to verbally bash me at a Congressional subcommittee hearing in where he accused me of renouncing my American citizenship - which I have never done. Rooney should have checked the facts before he started touting off. The GOP spin amazes me.

This issue of equal access should be bi-partisan. Servicemembers who serve our great nation deserve procedural due process - just like every civilian, illegal alien and even terrorists who are tried by military commissions. To deny Supreme Court access to those who serve to protect and defend us is illogical when applying democtratic principles. All of our allies permit their servicemembers equal access to their highest courts in military justice cases. My other home country of Australia has permitted its court-martial servicemembers access to the High Court - which is the equivelant of the Supreme Court.

It is doubtful with the Republican controlled House that HR 3133 or S.1664 will be passed in this 112th Congress. Republicans in general have strongly opposed equal access to the Supreme Court for our troops. The GOP is of the opinion that troops have a sufficient appeals process and that nothing should be changed.

Fleeing the Republican Party

When I was in my youth I was a Republican and was registered as such in San Diego County, California. During the George W. Bush years I left the party and re-registered as a Democrat. In 2007 I moved to Sydney, Australia where I have continued to vote in elections in the United States via absentee ballot.

Former GOP Senator Arlen Specter of Pensylvania left the Republican Party and he was an original cosponsor of S2052 in the 110th Congress when he chaired the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee. Former NY Congressman John McHugh, also seems to have exited the GOP when he quit Congress and accepted the position of Secretary of U.S. Army in the Obama administration. McHugh unofficially supported the change in the law. Moderate Republicans very much seemed to support the change. But in recent times the far convervative right has hijacked the Grand Old Party and ran most of the moderates out.

What I cannot understand is the caustic environment by the new GOP on this issue of equal access to the Supreme Court - former presidents Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln must be spinning in their graves at the likes of Rep Lamar Smith of Texas and Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida. I have called on Reps. Rooney and Smith to have a re-think about the issue but that is doubtful given their chosen ignorance of facts, statistics, ignoring expert testimony as well as the latest Cox Commission Report and to automatically oppose anything the other side - Democrats - introduce.

To read Rep. Davis' press release go here.

02 October 2011

Aussie DVA pensions increased

The Australian Government announced that Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs pensions have increased effective 20 September 2011. To view the rate increase go here.

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (3 October 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Both Houses of Parliament next sit on 11 October 2011. There are still Committee hearings occurring:

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, hearing on Procurement procedures for Defence capital projects, 0830 - 1700 hours, Committee Room 2S3 Parliament House. (Hearing will continue on Friday, 7 October 2011.) Terms of reference can be found here and submissions here.

House and Senate Joint Select Committee on Australia's Immigration Detention Network, hearing on Australia's Immigration Detention Network, 0830 - 1750 hours, Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street in the Lyceum Room, Sydney, New South Wales. Terms of reference can be found here and submissions here.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, hearing on Effectiveness of the Australian Government's response to Australian citizens who are kidnapped and held for ransom overseas, 0900 - 1700 hours, Committee Room 2S3 Parliament House. Terms of referen can be found here and submission here. ASIO's unclassfiled submission can be found here.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, hearing on Procurement procedures for Defence capital projects, 0830 - 1700 hours, Committee Room 2S3 Parliament House. Terms of reference can be found here and submissions here.


High Court of Australia

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

There are three appeals being heard but none invole the subject matter of this blog. To view the listing go here.

Friday, 7 October 2011

There are 11 Special Leave applications being heard in Sydney but none involve the subject matter of this blog. To view the listing of special leave applications go here.


Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 27 and 28 October 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

This week in Congress (3 October 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress:

** Bills related to 28 U.S.C. 1259 are expected to be introduced in both the House and Senate this week in an attempt to correct the longstanding inequity in the law related to Supreme Court access for court-martialed servicemembers. Earlier this year the Congressional Research Service, R. Chuck Mason, Legislative Attorney, issued these two reports: Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview and Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Over Military Court Cases.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, hearing on Reviewing the Progress of the Partnership Between the United States Paralympics and the Department of Veterans Affairs to Promote Adaptive Sports, 1000 hours, Room 334 Cannon House Office Building.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health, hearing on The Federal Recovery Coordination Program: Assessing Progress Toward Improvement, 0830 hours, Room 340 Cannon House Office Building.

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, hearing on Arlington National Cemetery: An Update on Reform and Progress, 1030 hours, Room 334 Cannon House Office Building.

___________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

29 August 2011

Blog is on holiday until 3 October 2011

The blog will be on holiday until 3 October 2011. I have been busy with completing DVA-TIP courses and will also be undergoing foot surgery next month. Sean has been called to active duty in the Army Reserve for several months and is overseas. And no one knows where Nick is - presumably holidaying in some warm spot or in the cold skiing.

Starting in March 2012 we will be devoting a section of the blog to Australian DVA claims and discussing published decisions from the VRB, AAT, Federal Court and High Court.

14 August 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (15 August 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament returns from its Winter recess on Tuesday, 16 August 2011, however, there are no committee hearings concerning the subject matter of this blog.

High Court of Australia

Monday, 15 August 2011

There is a hearing at 0930 in Melbourne but the case does not involve the subject matter of this blog.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


There are two cases being heard starting at 0930 in Sydney but they do not involve the subject matter of this blog.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 15 and 16 September 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

10 August 2011

High Court rules that interim military justice system was a valid act of Parliament

Today the High Court of Australia ruled in two separate cases, Nicholas v The Commonwealth [2011] HCA 29 and Haskins v The Commonwealth [2011] HCA 28 that the Military Justice (Interim Measures) Act (No 2) 2009 is a valid law of the Commonwealth Parliament.

In 2009 the High Court stuck down, in Lane v. Morrison [2009] HCA 29, as unconstitutional the Australian Military Court, or AMC, which had been created in 2007. Shortly thereafter the Australian Parliament enacted two laws as an interim measure to restore some form of military justice and discipline - reverting back to the previous court-martial system before the AMC was first created.

Able Seaman Haskins was found guilty by the AMC of 11 counts of misusing a Defence Travel Card. and sentenced to serve a severe reprimand and to detention of 42 days.

Captain Nicholas of the Australian Army was tried before the AMC and was convicted on two counts of obtaining a financial advantage, one of engaging in conduct tending and intended to pervert the course of justice and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was sentenced to reduction in rank to Lieutenant, a reprimand and dismissal from the Army.

In response to the High Court's decision in Lane, Parliament enacted the Military Justice (Interim Measures) Act (No 2) which gave effect to certain punishments and orders made by the AMC.

Nicholas main challenge to the interim military justice measure was that he claimed the act is a bill of pains and penalties and was unconstitutional pursuant to Ch III of the Constitution.

Haskins challenge was to question whether or not on the interim act's construction does it provide lawful authority justifying his detention.

The High Court rejected both challenges to Parliament's interim military justice system.


31 July 2011

This week in Congress (1 August 2011)

[SLOW WEEK] The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

There are no hearings in the U.S. Congress by Committees or Subcommittees involving the subject matter of this blog.

___________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (1 August 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in Winter recess and will next sit on 16 August 2011. There are Committee hearings still going during the recess but none this week involve the subject matter of this blog.

High Court of Australia

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Full High Court is hearing cases but none involve the subject matter of this blog. To view the cases being argued today go here.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 15 and 16 September 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

MINDEF speaks about new HMAS Success sexual harassment allegations

Today Australia Minister of Defence Stephen Smith, MP, was interviewed on Meet the Press concerning the new allegations involving sexual harassment on board the HMAS Success. To read the transcript go here.

28 July 2011

Gillard Gov't to provide tailored package to assist veteran households on impact of carbon price

Australia's Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, MP said the Gillard Government is providing a tailored package of household assistance payments for the veteran and ex service community to deal with the impact of a carbon price.

“The Australian Government has a plan to build a Clean Energy Future for our children and grandchildren by taxing our biggest polluters - and return every cent to assist households, support jobs and tackle climate change. “Because some of these big polluters may choose to pass on these costs to households, we have announced a comprehensive household assistance package to provide support payments to approximately 350,000 veterans, their families, war widows and widowers, said Mr Snowdon."

Payments will commence in May 2012 with the ‘Clean Energy Advance’, an upfront payment of between $140 and $380.

This will go to eligible service pensioners, seniors supplement recipients, war widows and widowers, disability pensioners, permanent impairment recipients and wholly dependent partners (under the Military, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004).

Following the up-front payment, from March 2013, ongoing assistance for this group will be provided through either fortnightly or quarterly payments. These payments will amount to an increase in benefits of between $7.40 and $20.90 per fortnight.

A service pensioner on the single rate will receive $250 upfront in May or June 2012 and after March 2013, $13.50 in ongoing fortnightly payments, with couples receiving $190 upfront each and from March 2013, $10.20 ongoing per fortnight.

For a veteran on a disability pension, their payment will depend on the rate of pension. Veterans receiving up to 100 per cent Disability Pension will receive $140 upfront and $7.40 per fortnight ongoing, while a veteran on Special Rate (TPI) will receive $380 upfront in June 2012 and $20.90 per fortnight in March 2013.

Veterans on a disability pension and service pension receive both payments.

Children of veterans and members receiving payments under the children education schemes will also receive assistance. They will receive two lump sum payments—in June 2012 and 2013—with ongoing assistance commencing on 1 January 2014.

Veterans that earn an income may also benefit from tax cuts. All taxpayers, whose income is up to $80,000 will get a tax cut, with most getting a cut of at least $300.

For more information on the full suite of measures please visit here or call 1800 057 590.

11 July 2011

U.S. appeals court orders Obama Administration to take a position on whether or not DADT is constitutional

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued this order, in the Log Cabin Republican case which challenges the Don't Ask, Don't Tell or DADT policy. I have previously discussed the case here and here.

The federal appeals court ordered the administration to advise it within ten days whether the U.S. government will abandon any defense of the law. And if so, whether the administration will do so in time to enable the U.S. Congress to take up the defense and join in the appeals court’s review. The appeals court also ordered the parties to offer reasons why the case should not now be dismissed as moot or when the repeal law actually takes effect.

Under the repeal law, which is known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (“Repeal Act”), Pub. L. No. 111-321, 124 Stat. 3515 (2010), its effective date is 60 days after the President, the Defense Secretary, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff formally certifies that the U.S. Armed Forces is ready to implement the law.

This week in Congress (11 July 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

House Armed Services Committee, Hearing on Changes to Article 120 and 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 1000 hours, room 2118 Rayburn House Office Building.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Hearing on VA Mental Health Care: Closing the Gaps, 1000 hours, room 418 Russell Senate Office building.

House Armed Services Committee, Hearing on Human Capital Management: A High Risk Area for the Department of Defense, 1300 hours, room 2118 Rayburn House Office Building.

Friday, 15 July 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Legislative Hearing on HR 2433, HR 1941 and HR 169, 1000 hours, room 334 Cannon House Office Building.

House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, hearing on military voting, 1100 hours, room 2212 Rayburn House Office Building.

___________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

10 July 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (11 July 2011)

[Winter Recess time!] The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in Winter recess and will next sit on 16 August 2011.

High Court of Australia

The Full High Court next sits in Canberra in August 2011.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 15 and 16 September 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

07 July 2011

Part two of HMAS Success report made available to public

Between March and May 2009, incidents of unacceptable behaviour on board the HMAS Success were brought to the attention of senior Navy brass and civilian leaders.

Allegations included: inappropriate conduct towards women; workforce bullying; tribal culture on board the ship; drunken and disreputable behaviour while ashore; a breakdown in discipline; and serious failures of command.

The incidents have been the subject of an internal Defence inquiry, a Senate Estimates examination and a Senate inquiry. I have previously written about the inquiries here, here, here, here and here.

In March 2010 the then-Chief of the Defence Force, RAAF Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, commissioned Roger Gyles QC to conduct an independent Commission of Inquiry into these matters.

On 22 February 2011, a tabled redacted version of Part One of the Commission of Inquiry report, which can be found here.

Last month Defence Minister Stephen Smith MP received Part Two of the Report.

Part Two deals with Navy administrative inquiries, the management of three landed senior sailors, response to media queries and reporting, the treatment of the legal officer representing the landed senior sailors and Australian Defence Force Investigative Service investigations.

A number of very significant shortcomings have been identified in the management of the three landed senior sailors. As a result they suffered an injustice, for which Mr Gyles recommends both an apology and compensation.

The Report also rejects criticisms of bias made of a 2009 Defence inquiry into allegations on board HMAS Success. Mr Smith has now tabled a redacted version of Part Two of Mr Gyles’ report.

Defence claims the redactions were made on legal advice to prevent the identification of individuals who may be the subject of disciplinary procedures.

The Chief of the Defence Force and the Chief of Navy have accepted the findings and recommendations and will take action on all of Mr Gyles’ recommendations.

This includes an apology to the three landed senior sailors from the Chief of the Navy for the failure to accord them proper process, and an offer to make a payment of monetary compensation for each of them.

It also includes an apology to the authors of the 2009 inquiry from the Chief of the Defence Force and the Chief of the Navy.

To read the redacted report's part two, which was released to the public today, go here.

Part Three of Mr Gyles’ Report will examine in more detail the conduct of administrative inquiries and wider considerations such as the interplay between enforcement of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982, administrative decisions, redresses of grievance and the role of equity and diversity policy.

U.S. Dep't of Veterans Affairs launches major outreach program for women

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, has embarked on an initiative to reach out to women veterans in order to solicit their input on ways to enhance the health care services VA provides to women Veterans.

“We are taking a proactive approach to enhancing VA health care for women veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We are seeking the input of women Veterans so that VA can continue to provide high quality health care to the growing numbers of women Veterans.”

Representatives at VA’s Health Resource Center or HRC are placing calls to women veterans nationwide, asking them to share their experiences with VA and suggest potential enhancements that will further VA’s mission to provide the best care anywhere.

Women veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the veteran population. Of the 22.7 million living Veterans, more than 1.8 million are women. They comprise nearly 8 percent of the total veteran population and 6 percent of all veterans who use VA health care services.

VA estimates by 2020 women veterans will constitute 10 percent of the veteran population and 9.5 percent of VA patients. The HRC, which started placing calls on June 1, is contacting women Veterans who have enrolled, but have not begun using VA services.

“Through this contact center, we are placing friendly, conversational calls to women veterans,” said Patricia Hayes, chief consultant of the VA’s Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group. “We want these veterans and their caregivers to talk candidly about why they are not using VA, whether they are aware of the gender-specific services we offer, and what additional services they would like to see VA offer.”

The HRC representatives making the calls are also informing women veterans about the services VA offers and quickly connecting them with appropriate departments if they are interested in trying VA health care. Veterans who have complaints about VA are connected to a patient advocate who helps resolve issues.

VA has trained professionals in all aspects of women’s health, including general primary care, osteoporosis management, heart disease, mental health care, menopausal services and obesity-related issues, such as diabetes. Preventive screenings for breast and cervical cancer are also areas in which VA excels. Soon, all VA facilities will offer comprehensive primary care for women from a single provider.

The Women Veterans Health Care program has made significant changes in the last few years to enhance the health care offered to eligible women veterans. This progress includes:
  • Adopting key policies to improve access and enhance services for women veterans;
  • Implementing comprehensive primary care for women veterans;
  • Conducting cutting-edge research on the effects of military service on women’s lives;
  • Improving communication and outreach to women veterans; and
  • Providing mental health, homelessness and other services designed to meet the unique needs of women veterans

U.S. bariatric surgery study looks at survival impact in older veterans

In the first study to compare survival associated with bariatric surgery in mostly male patients, bariatric surgery was not significantly associated with decreased mortality, according to a research study published in the 15 June 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the prevalence of obesity, which is a challenge to treat. Bariatric surgery is the most effective way for severely obese patients to achieve weight loss.

The bariatric surgery study compared mortality rates for 850 obese veterans who had received the procedure at one of 12 VA bariatric surgery centers between 2000 and 2006. These Veterans were considered to be “high-risk” due to older age and greater weight in comparison to more than 41,000 obese Veterans who had not received bariatric surgery, but had used VA outpatient services. The study also compared mortality rates for 847 obese Veterans who had received bariatric surgery and 847 matched obese Veterans who had not received bariatric surgery. Patients were followed for nearly 7 years.

“By evaluating one important treatment option for obesity, this study represents another significant advance in defining best care approaches for those who entrust their health to VA,” said Dr. Robert A. Petzel, VA’s Under Secretary for Health.

The study was designed to shed light on the benefits of bariatric surgery in a defined group of patients over a limited timeframe. Despite this study’s findings, study investigators are not suggesting VA stop doing bariatric surgery for certain patients.

“Significant weight loss results in improved disease control and quality of life for patients, so there are many reasons why patients like those in our study may still want to undergo bariatric surgery,” said Dr. Matthew Maciejewski, the study’s lead investigator and part of the Health Services Research and Development Center for Health Services Research in Durham, N.C. “ Also, other studies, conducted on different patient populations, have found bariatric surgery to be associated with reduced mortality and have also suggested that survival benefits from surgery-induced weight loss may take longer than six years to become evident.”

An analysis of the 1,694 propensity-matched patients found that bariatric surgery was not significantly associated with reduced mortality. Maciejewski recommends that Veterans who are considering bariatric surgery in VA, and who are similar to Veterans examined in this study, “should be counseled by their VA surgeon that bariatric surgery may not impact their survival in the medium term (6-7 years), but that the long-term association with mortality remains unknown.” Moreover, because a high proportion of Veterans with diabetes or high cholesterol are able to discontinue their medications after bariatric surgery, he suggests that longer-term survival benefits be examined for Veterans who had bariatric surgery after 2006, before VA changes its policy and/or guidelines.

Dr. Joel Kupersmith, VA’s Chief Research and Development Officer, notes that VA considers all associated evidence in any policy decision, but notes this is just one study. “It is by conducting leading-edge research studies such as this one on bariatric surgery, and evaluating the meaning in the context of all rigorous scientific evidence, that VA Research provides the foundation for optimal Veterans’ health care,” he said.

Dr. Maciejewski also does not recommend that insurers stop covering bariatric surgery for high-risk patients based on these study results because, “survival is just one aspect of the cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery, which has been shown to be cost-effective for eligible patients.”

06 July 2011

Enforcement end to DADT ordered by U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Log Cabin Republican case.

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued this order in a Don't Ask, Don't Tell or DADT case filed by the Log Cabin Republicans or LCR.

The order came from a class action case filed, in Log Cabin Republicans v. U.S., which challenged DADT - the American federal law banning openly gay people from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

In September 2010 a U.S. District Court in California ruled that DADT violated both First and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The court ordered the U.S. Defense Department to stop enforcing the ban. However, the Ninth Circuit granted the U.S. Government's request to stay the District Court’s order until the merits of lower court's decision could be appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit agreed to LCR's request to lift its stay of the District Court's order.

Retired ACM Houston named as Chair of ANZAC Centenary Advisory Board

Today the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of Anzac, Warren Snowdon MP, announced Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, AC, AFC (Ret’d), had been appointed as the Chair of the new Anzac Centenary Advisory Board.

Following a six year tenure as Chief of the Defence Force, ACM Houston accepted the position to lead the planning and development of the ANZAC Centenary commemorations taking place from 2014 to 2018.

“ACM Houston’s reputation is unparallel among the Defence Force community, government and throughout Australia. “He has had an outstanding career in the Australian Defence Force from joining the Royal Australian Air Force as a cadet pilot in 1970 to serving as Chief of the Defence Force from July 2005 until July 2011" said Minister Snowdon.

Mr Snowdon said the Chair of the new ANZAC Centenary Advisory Board has a vital role in leading the planning stages of the commemorations.

“As Chair, ACM Houston will work with the Board to progress the work of the National Commission on the Commemoration of the ANZAC Centenary, which handed its recommendations to Government earlier this year,” he said.

The Australian Government is establishing the Board to provide high level strategic advice to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of ANZAC regarding the planning and implementation of Anzac Centenary events and initiatives.

The Board will engage with community and business sectors to develop a program of commemorative activities in the years leading into the commemorative period and throughout the ANZAC Centenary program from 2014 to 2018.

“Joining ACM Houston on the Board will be specialists in education, business, local government and Australian history and culture. I look forward to announcing the membership of the Board in the near future,” Mr Snowdon said.

ACM Houston said the main priority for the Board will be to listen to the Australian people – from the ideas already shared with the former National Commission, to consulting with a range of community and business sectors.

“The Board has an important task ahead and I am pleased to be able to be involved to help ensure the ANZAC Centenary is marked in a way that captures the spirit and reverence it so deserves,” ACM Houston said.

ACM Houston will officially take up his new position in August. The appointment will see through the planning and development of the Centenary commemorations until 2018.

New appointments to Australian War Memorial Council made

Two appointments to the Australian War Memorial Council were announced today by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon MP.

Mr Kevin Woods CSC, OAM will join the Council for the first time and Ms Wendy Sharpe has been reappointed, after approval was given by the Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC.

Mr Woods will bring considerable military experience to the Council. His Army career spanned 34 years and included the position of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Australian Defence College and a member of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal.

A member of the Council since 2005, Ms Sharpe has been reappointed for an additional two years. She is an artist of distinguished reputation and has been invited to lecture at numerous art institutions and museums.

Mr Snowdon congratulated Ms Sharpe and Mr Woods on their appointments.

“These appointments bring a great breadth of knowledge to the Australian War Memorial Council,“ Mr Snowdon said.

“With such experience and talent at the helm, the Memorial will continue its reputation as a world class institution.”

The Australian War Memorial Council is an independent body responsible for the strategic direction of the Australian War Memorial.

03 July 2011

This week in Congress (4 July 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Monday, 4 July 2011 - HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

Thursday, 7 July 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1911, H.R. 240, H.R. 1263, H.R. 120, H.R. 2274, H.R. 2301, H.R. 2302, H.R. 2345, and H.R. 2329, 1000 hours, 334 Cannon House Office Building.

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorials, Legislative Hearing on H.R. 923, H.R. 1025, H.R. 1826, H.R. 1898, and H.R. 2349
, 1130 hours, 334 Cannon House Office Building.

___________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

02 July 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (4 July 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in session this week before it goes on its Winter recess. There are no committee hearings involving the subject matter of this blog.

High Court of Australia

The Full High Court next sits in Canberra in August 2011.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 15 and 16 September 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

26 June 2011

This week in Congress (27 June 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, hearing on Improving Contracting for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Throughout the Federal Government, 1000 hours, Room 334 Cannon House Office Building.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Mark up of Legislation, 1500 hours, 418 Russell Senate Office Building.

___________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

This (slow) week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (27 June 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Both Houses of Parliament are in recess until 4 July 2011.

High Court of Australia

The Full High Court next sits in Canberra in August 2011.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 15 and 16 September 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

23 June 2011

AAT affirms decision of MRCC holding that State compensation must be offset against any SRCA entitlement

The Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal today affirmed, Roberts v. Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission [2011] AATA 430.

Jeffery Roberts was a member of the Royal Australian Air Force and whilst on active duty sustained serious damage to four teeth and a broken jaw. He was then awarded a payment from New South Wales under the Victims Compensation Act 1996 (NSW) (now renamed the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996 (NSW). However, Mr Roberts also lodged a claim to the Australian Government under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 or SRCA.

The Australian Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission determined that the Commission was not liable to pay compensation under SRCA because Mr Roberts had already received compensation from the NSW State Government. The AAT affirmed.

DFDAT dismisses Army Major's appeal

The Australian Defense Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal dismissed the case of Green v. Chief of Army [2011] ADFDAT 2.

In 2009, a general court-martial found Major John Green guilty of one count of knowingly making a false statement and three counts of obtaining financial advantage by receiving payments to which he was not entitled to.

Major Green appealed the court-martial conviction on two grounds: the Judge Advocate had erred in ruling that the "honest claim of right" defence was not available and the conviction was unsafe and unsatisfactory having regard to the evidence.

The DFDAT, Justices Tracey, White and Duggan rejected Major Green's appeal and ordered it dismissed.

22 June 2011

Australian Defence Force posture review to be conducted

Mr Stephen Smith, Minister for the Australian Defence Force ("ADF"), announced today that the Government will undertake a Force Posture Review to assess whether the ADF is correctly geographically positioned to meet Australia’s modern and future strategic and security challenges.

The Force Posture Review will be undertaken by the Department of Defence and overseen by a panel comprised of Dr Allan Hawke and Mr Ric Smith who are national security experts.

Results of the Review and the views of the Expert Panel will help provide a strategic context for the next scheduled Defence White Paper in the first quarter of 2014.

The Review will address the range of present and emerging global, regional and national strategic and security factors which require careful consideration for the future, including: the rise of the Asia-Pacific as a region of global strategic significance; the rise of the Indian Ocean rim as a region of global strategic significance; the growth of military power projection capabilities of countries in the Asia Pacific; the growing need for the provision of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief following extreme events in the Asia Pacific region; and
energy security and security issues associated with expanding offshore resource exploitation in our North West and Northern approaches.

The Force Posture Review will:

a) as its starting point draw on the security, strategic and capability judgements outlined in the Defence White Paper 2009 Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030;

b) draw on work currently underway in Defence through the 2011 Annual Defence Planning Guidance;

c) outline the future security and strategic environment and challenges Australia needs to be positioned to respond to up to 2030;

d) consider the potential strategic and security role of Australia’s offshore territories, particularly Cocos and Christmas Islands, for Force Posture requirements;

e) consider the implications for ADF Force Posture of the need for energy security, including security issues associated with expanding offshore resource exploitation in our North West and Northern approaches;

f) consider how the future ADF Force Posture will support Australia’s ability to respond to a range of activities including:

  • deployments on missions and operations overseas;
  • support of operations in our wider region; and
  • practical engagement with the countries of the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean rim in ways that help to shape security and strategic circumstances in Australia’s interest;
  • assess the impact on the ADF’s Force Posture of a range of domestic, demographic and economic issues including:
  • more intense minerals and petroleum resource activities around Defence training and exercise ranges;
  • urban encroachment on existing Defence facilities;
  • community attitudes to living standards and residential locations; and
  • the need for a more cost-effective approach to basing;

h) make recommendations in relation to the basing options for Force 2030 across Australia including in relation to:

  • Navy platforms (including the Air Warfare Destroyers, Landing Helicopter Docks, Future Submarines, the ANZAC Frigate and its replacements and offshore patrol vessels);
  • Army’s additional northern basing requirements; and
  • Air Force’s plans to introduce a range of new aircraft and associated support systems into service; and
i) consider other relevant issues including population and population spread.

The Review will complement the work currently underway with the United States on the ongoing United States Global Force Posture Review by the joint Australian-United States working group.

Dr Hawke, a former Secretary of the Department of Defence, and Mr Smith, Australia’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a former Secretary of the Department of Defence, will provide overall guidance to the Defence Force Posture Review.

On Dr Hawke’s and Mr Smith’s recommendation, the Expert Panel may be augmented with additional expertise during the course of the Review.

The panel will provide a progress report to me before the end of 2011, with its Report provided to Government during the first quarter of 2012.

For further information on the review go here.

19 June 2011

Aussie defence retirement bill torpedoed in Senate by one vote

Australian veterans who are Commonwealth superannuants were dealt a blow late last week by Senator Kate Lundy who represents the ACT when she voted against a bill to give fair indexation to Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits ("DFRDB") recipients.

The Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2010 would have indexed DFRDB pensions against either the Consumer Price Index ("CPI"), Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index ("PBLCI") or Male Total Average Weekly Earnings ("MTAWE").

Senator Lundy, who supposedly supports fair indexation as indicated here, voted against the bill last Thursday. Given that the bill was lost by one vote, Senator Lundy’s decision has cost the Defence retirees of Australia dearly.

Calls and emails to Senator Lundy's office seeking comment have not yet been returned at the time of this post.

“I am stunned at Senator Lundy’s hypocrisy,” said Senator Gary Humphries, also of the ACT.

“It is just not good enough to campaign on an issue at an election, and then vote against that position in Parliament. The Coalition made a very strong commitment to the veterans' community at the last election and we voted to see that through,” said Senator Humphries.

The Returned & Services League of Australia or RSL issued this press release indicating its "great disappointment at the defeat in the Senate."

The RSL has made it clear that it will not relent in its efforts aimed at convincing Senators and Members of the House of Representatives to pass legislation supporting the legitimate and reasonable expectations of military superannuants for fair indexation.

[Disclaimer: I am a member of the RSL and hold office within it.]

This week in Congress (20 June 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Monday, 20 June 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Veterans Health Care in Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Where Are We?, 1000 hours, Oscar G. Johnson Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 325 East H Street, Iron Mountain, MI

Thursday, 23 June 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, Arlington National Cemetery: An Update from the New Administration, 1430 hours, Room 334 Cannon House Office Building.
___________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

18 June 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (20 June 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Monday, 20 June 2011

Joint House and Senate Treaties Committee, Treaty tabled on 23 March 2011, 1030 - 1200 hours. To view the Terms of Reference go here and the Submissions here.

High Court of Australia

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The full High Court is hearing several appeals today which does not involve subject matter of this blog. To view a list of cases being heard today go here.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 15 and 16 September 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

06 June 2011

RSL: Unwarranted delays in Australian Defence Force justice

Yesterday the Returned & Services League of Australia or "RSL" issued this press release concerning what it states is an "inordinate delay in the legal process surrounding the decision of the Director of Military Prosecutions to prosecute three members of the Australian Defence Force charged with very serious offenses alleged to have been committed during operational service in Afghanistan."

Last month Brigadier Ian Westwood, who was the military judge in a general court-martial of two members of the ADF from 1 Commando Regiment, charged with manslaughter and dangerous conduct during their service in Afghanistan found that the charges failed to disclose a service related offence and was bad at law. Charges were then referred back to the Director of Military Prosecutions to either accept the decision, or appeal it or raise fresh charges against the soldiers.

The RSL, in its statement, believes in and supports the process of military justice and respects the independence of the Director of Military Prosecutions, and insists on its democratic responsibility to raise concerns and public awareness about what the RSL believes is a denial of justice in this instance.

However, the RSL argues that "excessive and unexplained delays in these legal proceedings is deleterious to the morale of the Australian Defence Force, is an affront to all who have previously served the nation and is the antithesis of what members of the League believe should be a robust, fair and efficient system of military justice."

To view the documentation released by the Australian Government via the Freedom of Information Act on the two diggers charged with manslaughter and dangerous conduct whilst serving in Afghanistan go here.

[Disclaimer I am a member of the RSL and hold elected office within it.]

This week in Congress (6 June 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

The House is in recess this week but the Senate is in session.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, consideration of pending legislation, 0930 hours, Room 418 Russell Senate Office Building

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Senate Armed Services Committee, confirmation hearing of Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense, 0930 hours, Room G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
___________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

05 June 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (6 June 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in session this week but there are no committee meetings scheduled involving the subject matter of this blog.

High Court of Australia

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The full High Court is hearing one case today at 1015 hours which does not involve subject matter of this blog.

Friday, 10 June 2011


The High Court is hearing numerous special leave applications in Sydney and Melbourne (with video link to Adelaide and Perth) today. None involve subject matter of this blog. To view the list of the applications go here and here.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 16 and 17 June 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

30 May 2011

This week in Congress (30 May 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Monday, 30 May 2011

MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY

The Senate is in recess this week. The House is in session after the Memorial Day holiday.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, hearing on Putting America's Veterans Back to Work, 1000 hours, 334 Cannon House Office Building.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, hearing on Transition Assistance Program and VetSuccess on Campus Program, 1000 hours, Room 334 Cannon House Office Building.

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, hearing "An Examination of Poorly Performing U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs Regional Offices, 1330 Hours, 334 Cannon House Office Building.
___________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

Memorial Day (USA) . . . a time for reflection


Today is Memorial Day in the United States. Despite me being a half a world away in my other home country of Australia - it is time of reflection; to remember and honor all of our members of the Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedoms.

Lest we forget.

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (30 May 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Monday, 30 May 2011

House - Question Time, 1400 - 1530 hours.

Senate - Budget Estimates on Defence, 0900 - 2300 hours.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Senate - Budget Estimates on Defence, continued from Monday, 0900 - 1830 hours.

Senate - Budget Estimates on Veterans Affairs, 1830 - 2300 hours.


Friday, 3 June 2011


House and Senate Joint Public Works Committee, hearing on Proposed Australian Defence Force Academy Redevelopment, 1130 - 1500 hours. The Terms of Reference can be found here. There was one submissions received, which was from the Department of Defence. To view the submission go here.

High Court of Australia

Monday, 30 May 2011

The High Court is hearing numerous appeals today. None involve subject matter of this blog. To view the list of case go here.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 16 and 17 June 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

29 May 2011

Back to blogging

The RSL Congress is out of session and I'm back to blogging. The last few months I have not been able to blog that much due to pressing issues with the RSL and also my study obligations. But now I have time to blog. So much going on both in the Australia and the States to blog about.

01 May 2011

Blog on holiday for May 2011

The blog is on holiday for the month of May 2011. I'll be busy preparing for the RSL Congress and Sean is preparing for deployment; Nick has fell off the radar . . . presumably busy with his last year of law school.

Blogging will resume the first week of June 2011.

19 April 2011

Boost in Defence's internet services

Defence has signed an industry contract to provide high level and high speed internet services to industry, government, service personnel, employees and the public.

The contract, signed with Verizon Business, is worth $52.9 million and will involve the replacement of Defence’s existing single internet gateway with parallel managed services providing a five-fold increase in capacity. These gateways will be housed in separate locations further strengthening the system’s reliability, eliminating the risks associated with a single gateway.

This upgrade is said to improve Defence’s ability to ensure delivery of internet services (web, email and eBusiness services) to users within Defence and to external parties including other government agencies, industry partners and the general public.

This capability will also form the basis for the provision of Internet Gateway services to eight other Commonwealth agencies as part of Defence’s role as a lead agency under the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s Internet Gateway Reduction Program.

Defence will make savings by closing its current single internet gateway and an additional amount through the reduced power consumption and equipment decommissioning.

18 April 2011

This week in Congress (18 April 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Both the House and the Senate are in recess until 2 May 2011.
__________________

For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

17 April 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (18 April 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in recess until 10 May 2011. There are committee hearings being conducted during the recess.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Joint House and Senate Committee on Cyber-Safety, hearing on Cyber-Safety, 0900 - 1230 hours. The Terms of Reference can be found here. To review the submissions received go here.

High Court of Australia

Monday, 18 April 2011

Hearings occurring in Sydney via video link from Melbourne can be found here. None of the case involve the subject matter of this blog.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Hearing occurring in Melbourne can be found here. None of the cases involve the subject matter of this blog.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 16 and 17 June 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.