Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill – Second Reading – Video 2
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Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill – Second Reading – Video 2


Chairman Simon O’Connor I commend this bill to the house I call Simon O’Connor Thank You Madame chair can I acknowledge the minister who’s just resumed his seat for taking this bill through the house and here tonight as we discuss the Military Justice legislation amendment bill number two acknowledge his support and work and will actually ignore it a bit further the SOP which has been I understand tabled a couple of days ago around the involvement of causes and I’ll talk a little bit about that because it was part of the most well not this is the most critical but the the element within the Select Committee which took out most of our time of how we rightly aligned this justice legislation with wider justice activities so thanks to that minister to mark Mitchell as well his predecessor who had began work on this I think this sort of legislation shows the cooperation that moves across the house and I think that’s a positive thing not only for the house but certainly for the men and women of our armed forces who deserve our support look the Select Committee worked hard on this it was a quite a small piece of legislation per se but one that did occupy quite a bit of time of the committee as the minister noted there were four submissions but they were quite involved submissions themselves so I just want to acknowledge those who took the opportunity to present to us the advisors from the Defense Force who worked with us and of course everyone else involved likes a PCO I’m always very conscious as the chair of the committee that I stand alongside excellent members of parliament and if I might even more excellent advisers who you know give us their assistance so thanks to them it’s no surprise that national supports this bill ultimately what it does is align military justice with what we’re familiar with in the civilian justice context obviously allowing for some points of difference but fundamentally trying to bring them into line and one of the most critical elements is around victims rights to make sure that those who are victims of a crime within the military just sitting enjoy if that’s the right word but enjoy the same opportunities as one would in the civilian jurisdiction so something because so I’m always someone gets simple simple as a concept not in the nature of what’s happened to someone but that if something’s happened within the military justice system that someone is about to go on to bail all the like will be informed about in other words the victim will will get to know about and I think that’s quite important the victim will have the right to be consulted and so forth so again they these are things which in the civilian context we’ve taken for granted arguably and now through this bill we’re modernizing the forces discipline act and the court-martial sector to make this possible also the court martials Appeals Act so importantly madam chair this is an omnibus bills are the changes in this particular legislation flows through to at least three of those small other elements have gone through one of them is around the notice of judicial appointments at the moment the notices have to be advertised by the Chief of Defence Force but he or she doesn’t actually have any say in that they’re not the one doing the appointments it’s a bit of an anomaly so we’re updating the the law there that whoever makes the appointment actually does the Gazette it’s a small thing that a relative one the area we’re probably most of the discussion has occurred as around the the fitness to stand trial and as the minister noted it’s usually around some sort of impairment primarily mental but could be physical but if someone’s not able to to stand trial so the Select Committee took quite a bit of time around this not because of the essence of what had to occur but what was to be the right and proper procedure for ourselves as a committee to update and amend this piece of legislation correctly to do what was our responsible job but also very conscious that simultaneously the justice committee was looking at changes in this exact same area which had effects on the civilian side of things and to put it really simply the Foreign Affairs defense and trade committee did not want to make changes around the fitness to stand trial that may end up contradicting what the Justice Committee came back with to put it in a different way the changes that justice was going to do in its domain flow in to this military aspect that’s the whole at point of this amendment bill so the committee decided not to change the legislation or rather not to propose a change in the legislation when we reported back instead we wrote in our report a fairly fulsome explanation of the dynamics where we had landed and encouraged the minister to I suppose in good faith but also I think we know his character enough that he would listen to what we had to say and encouraged him to put at the Committee of the Whole House stage a supplementary order paper which I’m pleased to see has happened and the long and the short around this fitness to stand trial is just to get the the process order incorrect the minister elaborated on this but the the first element is if someone is accused of a crime within the military space decisions have to be made whether or not not whether they’re able to stand trial but whether there’s enough evidence to go to trial I think that was noted as the involvement inquiry so basically we’re asking if all of this passes through the house that a person accused of a crime is judged first and foremost or initial judgments of prima facie elements did they commit the crime is there enough evidence for this to proceed if that is the case then the question of a person’s impairment physical mental or otherwise can be judged not the other way around in other words if someone’s accused of something simply claiming a mental impairment and someone saying oh yes you do we’re not going to have you stand trial has not been seen as fair and particularly not fair to the victims who say well hold on a moment could there at least be some acknowledgement that there was at least a case here so we’re following in line with what the Justice committees come in with or rather the SOP that the minister has tabled that a person will in effect be accused those making the decision the judges will see whether or not or the tribunal will decide whether there’s sufficient evidence to continue and if there is then the competency or the fitness of the person will be decided look a couple of other very small things that’s been introduced someone now can object to a military member in other words there’s someone who’s going to be doing the trial that actually there’s an opportunity they hold on they shouldn’t for x y&z reasons obviously it’s up to the courts marshal to decide but there’s now provision for an objection and the onus of proof as well has has changed a little bit so it’s ultimately now for the the prosecution to prove that a person is guilty not so much that the person being accused has to prove that they’re innocent so good changes as I say relatively simple only insofar as they reflect what we’ve become used to in the civilian space so I think it’s a positive step forward so can I end by returning to where I started which is thinking all of those involved particularly our officials and visors those who took the opportunity to engage the committee and to then think the Minister for honoring I think the spirit of what the committee asked that a supplementary OTO paper be tabled and and make this well in line with other legislation and with that I commend this bill to the house the question is that the motion be agreed to I call the Honourable Willie Jackson I can’t I made him speaker kill okay sorry I just want to say

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