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 Report 5

Defence Force Ombudsman, 1979

Summary of the report

The Council's report was transmitted to the Government on 16 July 1979, and was tabled in the Parliament on 2 June 1981.

The Council considered whether it was appropriate for a separate Ombudsman to be established, if their procedures and powers were to be virtually the same as those of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Because of the small scale of the Defence Force Ombudsman's operations, and the potential problems with overlapping jurisdiction, the Council recommended the incorporation of the proposed jurisdiction in the Commonwealth Ombudsman's Office - but as a specially identified part of that Office. The Council also recommended that there should be a statutory office of Deputy Ombudsman (Defence Force), exercising powers delegated by the Defence Force Ombudsman.

Response to the report

On 12 June 1981 the Government announced that it had accepted the Council's recommendation to incorporate the Defence Force Ombudsman's jurisdiction into the Commonwealth Ombudsman's office, and to create a position of Deputy Ombudsman. The Ombudsman Amendment Act 1983 implemented all but one of the Council's recommendations. The recommendation not accepted was that the Ombudsman Act 1976 should provide that 'action taken by the Defence Force', include 'action of the Governor-General relating to appointment, promotion, termination of employment, and transfer of members of the Defence Force'.