Chapter 1 Introduction
During the period July 2009 to June 2010, Defence continued its
engagement in military operations around the world.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) was involved in 15 operations both
nationally and internationally in areas such as East Timor, Solomon Islands,
Papua New Guinea, the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.
ADF also assisted with a number of natural disasters in Tonga, Papua New
Guinea, Fiji, Indonesia, Samoa, Pakistan and Haiti.
In 2010 Operation CATALYST, the ADF’s contribution to the United
States-led multinational effort to develop a secure and stable environment in
Annual Report review objectives and scope
The review of the Defence Annual Report is an important task and an
opportunity for the Defence Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to inquire into a broad range of Defence
issues as part of the process of accountability of Government agencies to
Parliament. The Sub-Committee takes this responsibility very seriously.
The Sub-Committee took evidence from senior Department of Defence
officials at a public hearing held in Canberra on 25 March 2011. The
transcript of the hearing is available on the Committee’s website.
The proceedings of the hearing were webcast over the internet through
the Parliament’s website, allowing interested parties to watch the proceedings
as they occurred.
The Committee advertised the inquiry and received one submission. The
Sub-Committee thanks that organisation for their contribution.
The Sub-Committee would also like to note that the Defence environment
is a dynamic one. This report covers the financial year 2009-2010 and, unless
absolutely necessary, does not refer to information after this period.
The sub-committee selected a broad range of issues for examination at
the public hearing. In broad terms, the focus areas were:
n Strategic Reform
-> People in
-> ADF Pay
Mental Health Reforms
n Justice and Security
of Vital National Assets in the North West of Australia
-> ADF Base
n Defence Materiel
The public hearing
Due to the size and complexity of the Defence Department, the Committee
Secretariat offered to assist Defence in its preparation for the public hearing
on 25 March 2011. Unfortunately, other than the Secretary, the Chief of the Defence
Force (CDF) and those officers representing DMO, Defence officials seemed
poorly briefed and ill prepared for the hearing.
This lack of preparedness was compounded by the delay in the provision
of answers to questions taken on notice.
The Committee contends that proper planning would have ensured that
Defence had an appropriate senior officer available at the hearing to answer
questions put to it.
Answers to question on notice
The Sub-Committee held its public hearing into the Defence Annual Report
2009-10 on 25 March 2011. Twenty seven questions on notice with an additional
three written questions were confirmed with Defence on 18 April 2011. Defence were
asked to provide responses as one submission by 7 June 2011 and, after being
unable to provide responses by that date, were asked to provide responses by 1
July 2011. This timeframe was also not met.
Responses were received as follows:
n Answers to questions
1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 16 and 17 on 11 August 2011;
n Answers to questions:
3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27 and
written questions 1 and 2 on 15 August 2011;
n Answer to question 23
on 23 August; and,
n Answer to written
question 3 on 20 September.
Answers to questions on notice were provided some five months after the
hearing. The Committee acknowledges there are many pressing matters for the
Department but believes this delay is unacceptable The Committee cannot be sure
if the hold-up was in the Minister’s office, was due to Defence Ministerial and
Executive Support or from the line areas responsible for drafting answers to the
questions on notice.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Defence review its
practices and procedures to ensure that answers to the Committee’s questions on
notice are provided in a more timely manner.
||The Department of Defence review its practices and
procedures to ensure that answers to the Committee’s questions on notice are
provided in a more timely manner.