Formal Comment by the Australia Defence Association: 2006
As confirmed by the late June 2006 US Supreme Court ruling in the Hamdan test case, David Hicks' internment under the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) is a fundamentally separate legal issue to whether he can or indeed should be tried for terrorism offences, and if so, how and by whom. This distinction and its underlying principles of international law are not understood or are simply ignored by too many on either side of the David Hicks controversy.
There is no point discussing national service schemes without understanding what previous schemes involved and why they were instituted. Moreover, national service is only necessary strategically when our defence force needs to be increased by very large numbers, quickly and equitably. Our current strategic situation is not one of those times.
The ADA welcomes the report of the Review of Combat Clothing Procurement and the Government's adoption of the review's recommendations. Such procurement, of course, is only a small part of the complex problem of adequately equipping and sustaining the entire defence force for the future.
The defence force is stretched but not over-stretched by current deployments but its ability to handle additional crises may be constrained (depending on the nature of the crisis).
Why are there so many problems in the Department of Defence at present?
Dr Brendan Nelson’s appointment as Minister for Defence has certainly set tongues wagging.
New commitment to Afghanistan reflects the dynamic situation, as does the exit strategy for Iraq.
All Australians have a reciprocal citizenship obligation not to assist an enemy our government deploys our defence force to fight. Sedition and treachery laws are therefore essential and in no way affect peaceful and responsible democratic dissent.