Reforming Defence legislation to meet Australia's strategic needs

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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

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Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

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9 March 2023

The Albanese Government is today calling for public feedback on key reforms to Defence legislation.

The Defence Act 1903, and related legislation, will be amended to better position the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as an agile, integrated, warfighting enterprise.

The proposed reforms to the legal framework will address the full range of modern military capabilities and operational domains, including cyber and space.

The reforms will help to enable and reinforce future capability in the ADF to protect the Australian community and Australia’s national interests.

Individuals and organisations now have the opportunity to provide comment and make a submission.

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to reforming defence legislation to ensure the ADF can meet the challenges of a rapidly changing strategic environment and the realities of modern competition and conflict.

Further information on how to make a submission is available on the Department of Defence website at

Quotes attributable to the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Assistant Minister for Defence:

“The effectiveness of existing laws is impacted by strategic competition and uncertainty, the changing character of warfare, new and emerging technologies, domestic regulation and globalisation,” Minister Thistlethwaite said.

“These reforms provide a future-focussed legal framework to better serve Australia’s strategic needs and enable the robust defence of our national interests.

“The revised Defence legislation will support the full range of military activities and capabilities required to defend Australia and its national interests, while also providing for seamless interoperability with our defence partners.”

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