Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2009 Contents 37
unlikely to be available to an external agency in
the same way, if at all. In any event, although
our respective roles do not generally overlap, we
would not wish to double up on the functions of
the Defence Force Ombudsman who is of course
quite independent of the Defence Department.
Apart from those practical considerations, I can
say quite unequivocally that I have never been given
any reason to believe that my independence to do
my job might be placed in doubt by the actions of any
senior officer or official of the ADF or the Department.
How does the Military Justice
system impact on operational
A fair and effective military justice system is
an essential element of operational effectiveness.
It is actually an integral part of the ADF’s
The term ‘military justice’ is all about achieving
the correct balance between the need to maintain
discipline and the need to ensure this is done with
due regard for the individual rights of members.
If this balance gets too much out of
whack, one way or the other, then operational
effectiveness is bound to suffer sooner or later.
No one would dispute that armed forces must
be very well disciplined. But if the enforcement of
discipline is achieved at the expense of fairness to
individuals, then members and their families are
going to become unhappy and this will inevitably
be reflected in recruitment and retention figures.
On the other hand, an over-emphasis on individual
rights at the expense of the enforcement of
discipline is likely to lead to sloppiness that could
put lives at risk.
As I said, it’s all about achieving the right
balance and this is what the military justice system
as a whole, is meant to do.
What is your most significant
achievement as IGADf?
Prior to the establishment of the office
of IGADF in 2003, the ADF did not have a
dedicated approach to monitoring the health and
effectiveness of the military justice system.
The concepts and techniques we use today simply
didn’t exist then. What is most pleasing to me
personally is that we are now able to do this using
processes and systems developed by my office,
virtually from scratch. I am very pleased also that
through the daily work of the very supportive and
committed staff in my office, we have been able to
materially contribute to improving the ADF military
justice system for the benefit of command and
individual members alike.
The monitoring processes we are developing
are important because in the past judgements
about the effectiveness of the military justice
system have often had to await the outcome
of periodic inquiries. Some of these have been
sparked by complaints or particular events that
may or may not have been typical of the military
justice system in general. It would obviously
be better if the need for any reforms could be
recognised without the matter having to be subject
to such inquiries in the first place. I hope that
the systematic analysis of military justice data
collected through our audit and inquiry programs
will reduce the need for periodic inquiries by
enabling realistic assessments of the effectiveness
of the military justice system to be made routinely.
The IGADF was a new concept for the ADF
when it was established in 2003. It’s always nice
to be involved in something new and worthwhile
and although we have come a long way since the
early days, there is always plenty left to do and we
look forward to that.
• Geoff Earley became IGADF in 2003
after a lengthy career in the Navy.
• IGADF is a statutory appointment that
is independent of the normal chain of
• The office of IGADF is comprised of
ADF members of all three Services and
• The IGADF monitors the health and
effectiveness of the military justice
system and will inquire into complaints
of alleged failures in the system.
• The military justice system incorporates
disciplinary matters, adverse
administrative action, the conduct of
inquiries and investigations, and the
right to make a complaint.
The IGADF audit program where ADF units are
assessed for compliance with military justice
regulations is proving to be very effective.
Inspector General of the ADF, Geoff Earley
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