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Rising Sun*
08-26-2009, 08:21 AM
Another great piece of work by our legislators.

Who also happen to be the numb nuts who make various other decisions about our military and military actions.



Courts martial return to fill void as military court declared invalid

Christian Kerr | August 26, 2009

COURTS MARTIAL will be reintroduced temporarily after the High Court declared this morning the new Australian Military Court, a centrepiece of reforms to the military justice system, was constitutionally invalid.

Chief Justice Robert French and Justice Bill Gummow said "there was an attempt by the Parliament to borrow for the AMC the reputation of the judicial branch of government for impartiality and non-partisanship ... and to thereby apply `the neutral colours of judicial action' to the work of the AMC."

If the Government wanted to establish such a court, it had to use Chapter III of the Constitution - in which the power to create the federal judiciary is contained - not the defence power contained in section 51 (6).

The ruling has placed all the convictions by the court since it was established in doubt.

Defence Minister John Faulkner said the Government would move military justice to a judicial system that met the requirements of Chapter III of the Constitution.

``The Government will review the High Court's decision carefully and consider alternative models for establishing the jurisdiction in a Chapter III court,'' Senator Faulkner said.

Senator Faulkner said the Government would reinstate the previous military justice system through legislation on a temporary as an interim measure ``to give Defence a level of certainty in military justice matters''.

``The Government will also examine the implications of the decision for past and current cases and take any necessary action to ensure the validity of past sentences and to minimise disruption to ongoing cases.''

The Australian Military Court was established in October 2007 by the Howard government after a series of Senate Committee reports fiercely critical of the previous system of military justice.

Under the AMC, military judges presided over cases and operated outside the chain of command. The court however stopped short of meeting Chapter III requirements such as those governing the appointment and tenure of judges. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,24897,25984749-601,00.html