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Law Council of Australia


Defence Amendment (Call Out of the Australian Defence Force) Bill 2018

The submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee’s Inquiry into the Defence Amendment (Call Out of Australian Defence Force) Bill 2018 was prepared by the Law Council. 

The Law Council notes that the Bill follows the State Coroner of New South Wales Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café Siege in May 2017, which found that existing arrangements for the transfer of responsibility for terrorist incidents to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) were inadequate.

The Bill amends Part IIIAAA of the Defence Act 1903 (Cth) with the aim of streamlining the legal procedures for call out of the ADF to protect States’, selfgoverning Territories’, and Commonwealth interests, onshore and offshore, against certain incidences of violence, including terrorism. The Bill, if enacted, would:

The Law Council considers that, in non-war times, the ADF should only be called out into the states and territories in exceptional circumstances. Each of the states and territories have highly functioning operative police forces that are familiar with their local territories and have well developed legislative frameworks to regulate their powers. Further, the ADF have specialist capabilities developed for deployment extraterritorially and in times of war or national emergency which are equally well-defined in those circumstances.


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