The Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020 By Peter Ewer
Here is the official gear in relation to this Bill, these sorts of “control the population” bills are popping up like mushrooms in the West, since the elites no doubt fear civil unrest.
“Purpose and structure of the Bill
The measures in this Bill are intended to enhance the government’s ability to provide Defence Assistance to the Civil Community in relation to natural disasters and other emergencies.
Schedule 1—Calling out the Reserves
Schedule 1 proposes amendments to streamline the process for calling out members of the ADF Reserves. The proposed amendments will remove the requirement that the Governor-General act on the advice of the Executive Council when calling out the ADF Reserve and instead require the Governor-General to act on the advice of the Defence Minister, who will be required to consult the Prime Minister before advising the Governor-General. A Reserve Call Out order will be a notifiable instrument.
Reserve members will not automatically render continuous full time service (CFTS) when called out. It will be for the CDF to decide when a Reserve member who has been called out is bound to render CFTS.
Schedule 2—Immunities and ministerial direction to provide assistance
Schedule 2 provides immunities to certain personnel while they are performing duties to support emergency and natural disaster preparedness, recovery and response.
The manner in which the proposed amendments are drafted raises the question whether the Bill, as well as providing certain immunities, provides the Minister with a statutory power to direct use of the ADF and other Defence resources in certain ‘natural disasters and other emergencies’. The Minister already has some non-statutory executive power to direct assistance. The extent of that non-statutory power depends on the scope of the Commonwealth’s ‘nationhood power’ which is not regarded as settled in constitutional law. It is possible that these provisions expand the existing executive power.
For the purpose of issuing a direction, the nature of ‘other emergencies’ is not defined. There is no requirement for the Minister to consult with any affected state or territory before issuing a direction, or for a state or territory to requisition that assistance. There is no requirement for the ministerial direction to be published. A ministerial direction is not subject to any prescribed time limit.
The removal of criminal liability for actions taken in good faith performance of duty while providing certain assistance is likely to have the practical effect of expanding the circumstances in which the ADF can use force when deployed within Australia.”
There is a good critique made here in the link below, which raises the key issue that the term “emergencies” is not defined, and kept deliberately vague. With the army helping the lockdown in Victoria, who knows where this could go. And, protected persons are immune to civil and criminal liability. That alone is a concern. Now, why would a parliament want to add that clause to what they present as a means of helping the population, e.g. bushfires? I am worried.