AAMRI supplementary submission to the Review of the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012

AAMRI supplementary submission to the Review of the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012

17th July, 2018

As per the Defence Trade Control Act (Cth) 2012 legislation a review of how the Act is functioning has to be carried out this year. AAMRI has previously put forward a submisison to the review expressing its broad satisfaction with how the Act is functioning.

Following submissions to the Review, the Chair of the Review invited stakeholders to put forward a supplementary submission should they wish to issues respond to issues raised by other stakeholders.

In this submission, AAMRI expresses its concerns with regards to the impact on international research collaboration that proposed new powers that have been requested by the Department of Defence in their submission to the Review. In particular AAMRI is concerned that the proposals would grant the Department of Defence significant new powers that could prevent researchers from collaborating with overseas colleagues, irrespective of whether or not that technology appears on the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL). AAMRI is further concerned that some of the proposed controls would not be subject to appropriate Parliamentary oversight in the way the Act currently functions, and that proposed search and seizure powers do not have adequate judicial safeguards.

AAMRI puts forward four main recommendations:

  • The Department of Defence consult with the sector prior to putting forward extensive changes to the DTCA, and for the whole research community to then have the opportunity to comment.
  • The DSGL should continue to be used to determine what technology should be subject to appropriate export safeguards.
  • Control of sensitive technology should be subject to Parliamentary oversight.
  • Enforcement powers with respect to ensuring compliance with the DTCA should be subject to appropriate judicial oversight.