Opinion Number. 275

Subject

DEFENCE WHETHER FORMATION WITHIN AUSTRALIA OF PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATION CONTRAVENES COMMONWEALTH LAW

Key Legislation

DEFENCE ACTS 1903-1904

Date
Client
The Minister for Defence

The Minister for Defence forwards a prospectus of the Legion of Frontiersmen, with correspondence, and asks to be advised on the following question:

Would such a military organization, separate entirely from Government control, be permissible under our Defence Act?

It is stated in the prospectus that-

The scheme and object of the Legion is the organization of a civilian, self-governing and self-supporting body of British Frontiersmen throughout the Empire, associated for the promotion of Imperial interests in time of peace, and whose services shall be available, if called upon, for Imperial defence in time of war.

It is stated in a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Long, Commandant of the Manchester and District Command, that the organization is world-wide, and that-

The Legion is a self-governing and self-supporting military body in time of peace, and the members pledge themselves to fight for their country in time of war. The Legion requires the consent of the different Governments to form commands.

The Legion appears to be entirely a private association, with military objects; and, in my opinion, there is nothing in the Defence Acts 1903-1904 to prevent its formation, as such an association, in Australia.

[Vol. 5, p. 494]