As a national public-interest guardian body our independence — including our strict apoliticism in motivation, structure and activities — is essential to our role and operations.
Our governance and financing arrangements (discussed in detail in several questions in this section) are designed to preserve our independence and the consequent integrity and transparency of our public-interest guardianship efforts.
The ADA is an entirely independent and publicly transparent community organisation.
We seek to represent the long-term public interest. We therefore take great care to avoid the potential for, or appearance of, conflicts of interest with the positions espoused by political, commercial, industrial, bureaucratic, institutional or other real and perceived vested interests.
We are not part of, or affiliated with, any government department or agency (including the defence force).
We are not subordinate to or otherwise affiliated with any other public organisation, political party or commercial grouping.
We do not pay affiliation fees or make donations to any Australian (or foreign) political party or political organisation. Nor do we seek or accept donations or direction from such politically-partisan sources. Our only donations are to registered charities such as Legacy or Soldier-On.
As would be expected, in order to keep up with informed public debate on defence and wider national security issues a wide range of other 'think-tanks' and general Australian organisations consult with the ADA from time to time and/or subscribe to our publications and research reports. This is their free choice and part and parcel of informed public and scholarly debate.
Similarly, to further our research efforts we also maintain informal liaison links and reciprocal information exchanges with counterpart public-interest guardianship organisations, and academic or profession-based research institutes, in several Asia-Pacific countries.
We also keep in touch with our counterpart public-interest watchdog bodies in Canada and the UK.
Controls on political liaison
Our apoliticism and independence does not preclude us from assisting mainstream political parties with improving their policies on defence and wider national security matters. In fact it requires it as long as we assist both sides of mainstream politics and offer to do so to the minor parties.
From time to time, and at the request of an Australian political party or other group, we provide our services as a neutral broker for the conduct of independently refereed national security workshops at party conferences, policy development fora or similar events.
The administrative and travel costs of such workshops may be reimbursed by the grouping concerned. The ADA contributes its time, staff and expertise at no charge.
We have, for example, undertaken such refereed workshops for both the Labor and Liberal Parties on numerous occasions, including at their national conferences or councils.
We also have a standing offer to do so for all other parties represented in federal parliament and, at their invitation, have contributed to round-table policy fora conducted by the Australian Greens.
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