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Title: Book Review: 'Calling Out the Troops - The Australian Military and Civil Unrest: The Legal and Constitutional Issues' by Michael Head (Sydney: Federation Press, 2009) pages i-viii, 1-248. Price $49.95 (softcover). ISBN 978-1-86287-709-2.
Contributor(s): Moore, Cameron  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2009
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Abstract: The thought of a civilian passenger jet full of ordinary people flying over Australia being hijacked and then shot down is quite horrific. The shock and horror would most likely amplify if the missile that struck the aircraft launched from an Australian fighter jet or warship. So too, armed troops using lethal force to defend infrastructure such as a power station would be an alien experience for Australia. Amendments to part IIIAAA of the 'Defence Act 1903' (Cth) in 2006 provided these powers to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). There has been some academic debate about this, but not much. Furthermore, there is little to suggest any general public awareness that the Commonwealth Parliament has legislated for the significant destructive power now available to the ADF to be directed at non-military threats. This is the great value of Michael Head's book, 'Calling Out the Troops - The Australian Military and Civil Unrest: The Legal and Constitutional Issues' ('Calling Out the Troops'). Restraining the use of force by the state within its own borders has been a legal issue since the 'Magna Carta', and any development of the legal power for the state to use force should be the subject of debate and scrutiny. It is therefore timely and important that 'Calling Out the Troops' subjects the new statutory powers to critical scrutiny and opens the debate to a potentially wider audience than a journal article might reach. A particularly welcome aspect of 'Calling Out the Troops' is that public debate on military legal issues in Australia is quite limited and many, though not all, of the contributors to this debate have a background in the ADF. This institutional perspective does not appear at all in Head's work and this can only strengthen and deepen debate in this area. While the conclusions that Head draws do not entirely convince this author, the observations that he makes and the questions that he asks in response to them are compelling. This book review will first give a general description of 'Calling Out the Troops' and deal with some of the book's perceived limitations before addressing its conclusion and its main strengths.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Melbourne University Law Review, 33(3), p. 1022-1031
Publisher: Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 0025-8938
Field of Research (FOR): 180108 Constitutional Law
180116 International Law (excl International Trade Law)
180199 Law not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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