A controversial Bill entitled the Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020, is to be debated in the Senate.
According to lawyer Kelly Tranter, if the legislation is enacted it would authorise the use of foreign military and police forces and would give them the same immunity from legal liabilities as Australian forces. Tranter writes: “The use of a foreign army or militarised police force should not be allowed at all, and certainly not without the safeguard of citizens’ rights of access to courts.”1
MPG sees the legislation as a missed opportunity for creating a proper ‘Civil Defence Force’ to deal with future emergencies, as these are likely to be connected to the impact of the climate crisis (such as fires and floods) or the pandemic, rather than being of a military nature. To take the nation down the path to a more militarised future is to misunderstand the true nature of threats to national security.
MPG has made a submission to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. Read the submission here.
Other submissions on the Bill can be accessed and downloaded here. These include submissions from Australians for War Powers Reform (No. 4), Medical Association for Prevention of War (No. 8), IPAN (No. 15), and Peter Griffin, member of MPG ( (No. 44).
1. Kelly Tranter, ‘Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020’, Briefing Paper, September 2020.