Parliament Introduces New Defence Committee

This week, the Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Joint Committee on Defence) Bill 2024 was introduced into the House of Representatives, paving the way for the anticipated establishment of the Joint Statutory Committee on Defence (JCD). The purpose of the committee will be to bring the same rigor to the examination of defence matters as other longstanding committees bring to their portfolios. In this light, the JCD will not replace the existing functions of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT), but will operate in addition to it.

Unlike previous committees that dealt with defence matters and unlike JCSFADT, the JCD will have the same security and secrecy provisions of the existing Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). This will mean the JCD can bring new levels of oversight to Australia’s defence agencies and the ADF, as well as facilitate confidential briefings. Moreover, the committee will provide information on the delivery of defence capability and the required development of Australia’s industrial base. The establishment of the JCD will mean that industry will have an additional avenue to raise matters of importance and concern with defence.

The Coalition has offered bipartisan support to the Government, with Shadow Defence Minister Andrew Hastie previously advocating for such a committee in 2022.

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