PDFORRA Challenge Ombudsman Appointment

By Industrial Relations Officer

PDFORRA have brought a High Court challenge to the appointment of a former Army Officer to the position of Ombudsman for the Defence Forces.  It is the position of the Association that it is inappropriate that any person who formerly served as a member of the Permanent Defence Force occupy the office of Ombudsman.  The Association lobbied and canvassed heavily for the enactment of the relevant legislation establishing the office in order to provide for the introduction of an independent Ombudsman to consider complaints made under the redress of wrongs system.  PDFORRA is seeking a declaration from the Courts that the provisions of the legislation disqualifies former members of the Defence Forces from holding the office of Ombudsman as it emphatically disagrees with the appointment made.

 It is the Associations view that the Act clearly envisages the existence of an independent and impartial office forOmbudsman for the Defence Forces and, as such, the law has to be interpreted as excluding and disqualifying any former member of the Defence Forces as a matter of principle, irrespective of their identity.  An impartial and independent Ombudsman, which in the Associations view must exclude all and any former members of the Defence Forces, is vital to ensuring the best operation of the redress process and indeed any other complaints made to the Ombudsman.



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