How is ADA policy derived and implemented?

The effectiveness of our public comment and broader activities is enhanced by the ADA's well-refined and speedy decision-making and consultative mechanisms. These are actively supervised by the board of directors on behalf of our membership. 

More generally, it is also assisted by the long-term perspectives, balance, historical knowledge and professional interpretation we bring to discussions on issues of current (but often transient) public and media interest. The breadth, depth and motivation of our membership are key strengths in both regards.

In terms of the broad guidelines needed, ADA policy is formally determined by our members at general meetings or by referenda. More detailed policy deliberations are generally delegated to the board of directors elected by the wider membership.

A culture of informal consultations with ADA Chapters and individual members are also a valuable mechanism for researching and formulating policy.

We also use expert advisory panels of volunteers among our membership to:

  • help derive policy and formulate comment;
  • research the technical, historical, financial or other specialist aspects of specific issues; and
  • assist with our submissions to parliamentary and official inquiries.

The day-to-day public comment sought from the ADA's official spokesman by the media is greatly assisted by his support from our expert panels.

Our submissions to official and parliamentary inquiries are prepared by specially constituted expert working groups. All submissions involve wide consultation and are approved by the ADA board of directors before submission.

In terms of helping keep the wider political process honest we also conduct workshops for political parties reviewing their policies on defence and wider national security issues. These have been undertaken, for example, at Liberal Party triennial national conventions and  ALP biennial national conferences. We have also contributed to policy development round-tables convened by the Australian Greens.

These types of policy development support have also been offered to all the other parties currently represented in federal parliament.

Under our constitution (Articles 19-20) and executive processes, the federal executive director of the ADA is our only representative authorised to speak on behalf of the Association (with another spokesperson appointed by the board of directors if the executive director is unavailable). This provision was instituted from the ADA's earliest days to reinforce the integrity, accuracy, consistency, speed and currency of our contributions to informed public debate.

Our members are, of course, strongly encouraged to participate in public debate as individual citizens but cannot claim to act for, speak on behalf of, or otherwise represent the Association in doing so.

Our members are also free, and encouraged, to declare their ADA membership should they so desire.

The code-of-conduct for ADA members participating in public debate is detailed in the members-only section of this website.

In keeping with the principles and requirements of the Commonwealth Privacy Act, 1988, the ADA does not publicise, confirm or otherwise provide individual membership details without the permission of the member concerned.


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