The potential for abuse, including the imposition of martial law and human rights abuses, can’t be ignored if the military is granted rights over domestic citizens

Almost 40 years ago one of Australia’s most senior judges of the time, Robert Hope, warned that “[use] of the military other than for external defence is a critical and controversial issue in the political life of a country and the civil liberties of its citizens”.

We ought to reflect on that wise observation, made in 1979, as the Turnbull government announces that the Australian defence force will be deployed where there is a terrorism threat. The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the defence minister, Marise Payne, want to amend the Defence Act so as to allow the military to “assist” state and territory police and to take control of situations like that which occurred in the Lindt cafe siege of December 2015.

Continue reading…