29 April 2012

This week in Parliament, Courts & Tribunals (30 April 2012)

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. The House and Senate next sit on 8 May 2012. There are Committee hearings occurring during the recess:

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

House and Senate Joint Public Works Committee, hearing on Proposed Development and Construction of Housing for Defence at Rasmussen, Townsville, 1100 hours, Holiday Inn, 334 Flinders Mall, Townsville.  To see the Reference of Word go here, and the one submission by Defence Housing Australia here.

High Court of Australia

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The High Court is hearing seven case today but it does not involve the subject matter of this blog. Here is the listing.


Federal Court of Australia


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Ronald John Summers v. Repatriation Commission, VID1335/2011 (Full Court Hearing - Victoria Registery)

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT sits this week on 30 and 31 August 2012.

Veterans' Review Board


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

17 April 2012

Receipt of DLA Piper Report: Allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence

Australia's Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, MP, today received the Final Report of Phase 1 of the DLA Piper Review of Allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence.

Following the ‘ADFA Skype incident’ in April 2011, a large number of allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse in the Australian Defence Force and Defence were made.

In response to these allegations, the law firm DLA Piper was engaged by the then Secretary of the Department of Defence to review each allegation methodically and at arm’s length from Defence to make recommendations for further action.

The Review into allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse in Defence received allegations from over 1000 people.

The Review has two phases:
  • Phase 1, now complete: all allegations of sexual or other abuse and any related matters have been reviewed to make an initial assessment of whether the matters alleged have been appropriately managed and to recommend further action to the Minister. Phase 1 also considered systemic issues that will require further investigation in Phase 2.
  • Phase 2 will review Defence’s processes for responding to allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse and make appropriate recommendations about any systemic issues. Phase 2 will also oversight Defence’s implementation of the recommendations of Phase 1.
In October 2011, I received Volume 1 (General Findings and Recommendations) and the first tranche of Volume 2 (Individual Allegations) of the Review’s Report.

On 7 March I released redacted extracts from the Executive Summary and Key Findings, Issues and Recommendations of Volume 1.

The Review received communications in relation to allegations of past abuse from over 1000 people. The Review has identified allegations from 775 people which fell within the Review’s Terms of Reference, the overwhelming majority of which are plausible allegations of abuse.

These involve allegations across every decade from the 1950s. The earliest date of alleged abuse is from 1951. The individual allegations, findings, issues and recommendations included in Part 1 are serious and concerning. Defence claims these involve complex and sensitive matters.

Volume 1 of the Report outlines a range of options which may be open to Government to provide a response to people who have made plausible allegations of sexual assault or other abuse to the Review, including:
  • Existing schemes or mechanisms for compensation, such as:
  • bringing an action in the courts;
  • seeking compensation under the statutory compensation schemes that cover Defence personnel; and
  • applying for a financial payment under discretionary compensation schemes.
  • New mechanisms by which eligibility for some reparation might be considered, such as:
    • Royal Commission;
    • judicial inquiry;
    • Parliamentary Committee; and
    • the appointment of a body similar to the current Review.
    The Review also identified options which might be adopted to provide recognition for persons who have made plausible allegations of past abuse, comprising:
    • public apology/acknowledgements;
    • personal apology;
    • capped compensation scheme;
    • facilitated meeting between victim and perpetrator; and
    • health services and counselling.

    04 April 2012

    Commission of Inquiry appointed to look into the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan

    The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, announced today that he has appointed a Commission of Inquiry into the crash of an Australian CH-47D helicopter in Afghanistan on 30 May 2011, in which Lieutenant Marcus Case was killed.

    Lieutenant Case was deployed to Afghanistan as a Heron Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Payload Operator. He died when a CH-47D helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan.

    Following the accident, the Chief of Army ordered an Aviation Accident Investigation for the purpose of identifying any aviation safety issues arising from the crash.  That investigation was finalised in December 2011.

    Defence considered the Aviation Accident Investigation Report, and as a result, the Chief of the Defence Force appointed a Commission of Inquiry to examine broader issues associated with the helicopter crash and the death of Lieutenant Case. This includes aspects that were not covered by the technical airworthiness investigation but that may have implications for Australian CH-47D operations.

    The Aviation Accident Investigation Report will help inform the Commission of Inquiry. The ADF is withholding the Report from public release.

    Andrew Kirkham AM, RFD, QC will preside over the Commission of Inquiry. Mr Kirkham is a civilian barrister with military experience.

    In addition to the President, the Commission of Inquiry will comprise two members with substantial Defence aviation experience, Brigadier William Mellor DSC, AM (Ret’d) and Group Captain Stephen Fielder AM.
    The Commission of Inquiry will be an open inquiry. However, the President is permitted to close aspects of the hearings if necessary.

    Members of Lieutenant Case’s family have been briefed on the findings of the Aviation Accident Investigation into the crash and will be able to attend the Commission of Inquiry if they wish to do so

    MINDEF receives the final Report on the Australian Defence Force Posture Review

    Today the Australian Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, MP, announced that he had received the final Report of the Australian Defence Force Posture Review.

    The report was first commissioned  in June 2011, and involves these strategic and security factors:
    • 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.
    More broadly, the Review also examined logistics support requirements, training areas for large-scale and joint training exercises, demographic and economic factors, public communications strategies, and engagement with industry, particularly the minerals and petroleum resources industries in Australia’s North and West.
     
    In January this year, the Minister released a progress report from the expert panel preparing the Defence Force Posture Review.  That progress report is available here.

    02 April 2012

    This week in Congress (2 April 2012) . . .

    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:

    Thursday, 5 April 2012
    U.S. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Subcommittee on Health, Vet Centers and the Veterans Health Administration:  Opportunities and Challenges, 1001 South Santa Cruz Avenue, Modesto, California, 1430 hours.

    __________________

    For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

    01 April 2012

    This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (2 April 2012)

    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. The House next sits on 2 May 2012 and the Senate on 8 May 2012. There are Committee hearings occurring during the recess but none this week involve the subject matter jurisdiction.

    High Court of Australia
    2 April 2012

    The High Court is hearing one case today but it does not involve the subject matter of this blog. Here is the listing.

    4 April 2012

    The High Court is hearing four cases today but they do not involve the subject matter of this blog. Here is the listing.

    Federal Court of Australia

    No hearings this week in the Federal Court involving the subject matter of this blog.

    Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

    The DFDAT sits this week on 26 and 27 April 2012.

    Veterans' Review Board


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