Formal Comment by the Australia Defence Association: 2009
The 26 August 2009 decision by the High Court to invalidate the Australian Military Court (AMC) instituted in October 2007 was not unexpected. The underlying constitutional, legal and philosophical issues have been debated widely for over a decade. Unfortunately much of the ensuing public commentary has not reflected these debates or their history. This is also a matter with few, if any, party-political, individual personality or bureaucratic power-play aspects of any note. This has not suited some commentators and unnecessary confusion has resulted from their purported explanations claiming such effects.
The Australia Defence Association is sorry to see Joel Fitzgibbon resign as the Minister for Defence. This is preliminary comment and we will be discussing this matter further in our forthcoming publications. A longer analysis of the background to this resignation may be read in the earlier comment below.
If your knowledge of defence issues was confined to reading newspaper headlines, the last few weeks might give the impression that the Minister for Defence is a hopeless nong, that members of the defence force are somehow conspiring against him or that the Department of Defence is out of control. Luckily the first two are not true and the third very much exaggerated but the real state of affairs, as is usually the case, is complex, nuanced and the product of longstanding historical causes.
Most recent exchanges about accepting or not accepting released Guantanamo Bay internees into Australia are ahistoric. They often merely repeat the same factual, conceptual and legal mistakes and misapprehensions that have often bedevilled public “debate” about Guantanamo in general and the case of David Hicks in particular.