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Army October 29, 2009
By WO2 Graham McBean
CURRENT and former Defence per-
sonnel convicted of a service offence
during the life of the Australian
Military Court (AMC) have until
November 23 to submit a petition
against that offence.
This follows the High Court decision
on August 26 that rendered the AMC
Legislation rushed through parlia-
ment reinstated the former system of
courts martial and Defence Force
Magistrates -- which also reinstates the
former systems of petitions and reviews
for all service tribunals.
CDF Directive No 23/2009 provides
that the full military discipline system
has been reinstated and includes infor-
mation on the provisions for members
convicted and punished under the previ-
ous system of military discipline.
The directive further notes that
detailed guidance on the process for
submitting a petition for a punishment
review will be provided by Defence
Legal Division through the single-serv-
ice chains of command.
"If in doubt, members and command-
ers should consult their legal officers
for specific guidance on these matters,"
ACM Houston said.
The AMC was established
on October 1, 2007, to try serious serv-
ice offences involving ADF personnel.
The August 26 High Court decision,
however, declared the provisions of
the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982
(DFDA) establishing the AMC were
The High Court's decision removed
the AMC from the military discipline
The High Court ruled that all con-
victions recorded by the AMC between
October 1, 2007, and August 26, 2009,
This means that any ADF member
who was convicted by the AMC dur-
ing this period does not have a convic-
tion nor do such persons have a criminal
However, the legislation that came
into effect on September 22 gives effect
to the punishments imposed (except
imprisonment) and orders made by the
Additionally, all members who were
convicted and punished by the AMC
or, in some cases, a summary author-
ity, such as a commanding officer, will
have their punishment reviewed auto-
matically or have a right to submit a
petition for a punishment review where
Meanwhile, options for a permanent
replacement for the AMC are still being
Further information is available at www.defence.
gov.au/mjs; by contacting unit or base DF legal
officers; or Defence Counsel Services on (02)
6127 4099 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parade for Chinese general
Grand show: Capt Mark Cole, Operations Officer Australia's Federation Guard (left), and CDF ACM
Angus Houston (obscured) escort Gen Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff People's Liberation
Army. Gen Bingde visited Canberra on October 15 for Australia and China's annual Defence Strategic
Photo by Kevin Piggott
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