Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Dr Mike Kelly, today officially opened the purpose-built Australian Defence Force Military Law Centre at historic Victoria Barracks, Paddington Sydney NSW.
The Military Law Centre was established by the Department of Defence in 2001 to provide professional in-service training for Australian Defence Force legal officers, and forms the ADF component of the Asia-Pacific Military Law Centre (APCML). The APCML is a cooperative partnership between the Military Law Centre and the University of Melbourne Law School that offers military law courses to ADF and regional military officers.
Dr Kelly said the Government committed in 2008 to build a centre to house both the ADF Military Law Centre and the Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law (military node). The centres will continue to educate and train future Australian Defence Force legal officers and officers from the Asia-Pacific region in facets of military and international law with a special focus on the Rule of Law
“I recall my time as the inaugural Director of the Military Law Centre some 10 years ago and sharing my vision with Professor Tim McCormack of the University of Melbourne Law School to expand legal training into the Asia-Pacific region through the creation of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law,” Dr Kelly said.
“We hoped that through courses, seminars and ongoing research, we could facilitate cooperation among military forces of the Asia-Pacific region in the research, training and implementation of the laws governing military operations.
“What better way to promote greater understanding of, and increased respect for; the Rule of Law in all aspects of military affairs both within the Australian Defence Force and among militaries in the Asia-Pacific region than through this unique partnership of a military legal training organisation and a civilian law school.”
Since 2001 some 400 trainees from 25 different countries have attended Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law courses, with most trainees coming from Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. The courses are supported by and coordinated with International Policy Division within Defence in order to meet Defence’s international engagement objectives.
Dr Kelly said both centres would continue to build on the good work already achieved since 2001 by successive military directors of the Military Law Centre and civilian directors of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law and their staff.
“Courses that have existed since the 1990s continue to be improved, innovative training methods have been incorporated and new challenges are being addressed,” he said.
“The completion of the building will be instrumental in the centres maintaining their existing reputation as two of the leading military academic centres of their kind in the Asia-Pacific region.
“It will give the centres a permanent and purpose-built home to continue to provide for and develop the finest teaching and training of our own Defence Force members as well as officers from around our Asia-Pacific region.”
Images of today's event will be available from http://adfmedia.smugmug.com/Kelly
Further Information: GPCAPT Ian Henderson, Director Military Law Centre, (02) 8335 5632 Mobile: 0434 659 664
Elyse Gatt (Dr Kelly) 02 6277 4840 or 0459 810 654
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999