The new Australian Defence Force leader also chaired the Victorian Bar Council
A former Victoria Supreme Court judge has been named judge advocate general of the Australian Defence Force.
Rear Admiral the Honourable Jack Rush RFD QC RAN is a Melbourne barrister who is highly regarded as a lawyer in Australia. In addition to serving on the Supreme Court bench in Victoria, he also chaired the Victorian Bar Council.
Rush has been part of the Navy reserve for over three decades. As judge advocate general, he essentially acts as the Australian Military Justice jurisdiction’s chief justice, the Victorian Bar said.
“The judge advocate general plays a vital role in the Australian Defence Force and is the ultimate authority for the Australian Military Justice jurisdiction, including all courts martial and military tribunals,” the bar said. “The position provides the final legal review of all legal proceedings, as well as participating in the appointment of judge advocates, defence force magistrates, presidents and members of court martials.”
Current Victorian Bar Council president Christopher Blanden QC praised Rush’s appointment to the role, saying that Rush was adding to his remarkable public service record through the new position.
“[Rush] headed the Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires in which 173 lives were lost and later was appointed by the Victorian government to conduct a review of Victoria Police senior command. Both were extremely challenging roles,” Blanden said.
Law Council of Australia President Dr Jacoba Brasch QC also congratulated Rush on the appointment, noting the crucial role of the judge advocate general and of the deputy judge advocate generals in sustaining confidence in the military justice system.
“Military discipline in the armed services is vital both in Australia and on operational service overseas. In view of the creation of the International Criminal Court, an independent and properly operating Australian military justice system, together with the complementary jurisdiction of the civilian courts, ensures that accused Australian service personnel will only face charges in Australian courts and tribunals,” Brasch said.
Rush succeeds Rear Admiral the Honourable Michael Slattery AM RAN in the role. Slattery had served a seven-year term in addition to his position as a full-time NSW Supreme Court judge.