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3.2.2 'Rendering defence service'

The various heads of liability in the MRCA require that 'defence service' be 'rendered' and that the service be temporally or causally related to the claimed injury, disease or death before it can be determined to be a service injury, service disease or service death.  A person does not 'render defence service' merely by enlisting [Truchlik v Repatriation Commission (1989) 87 ALR 263].


'Rendering defence service' requires the person to be on duty or be doing something required, authorised, or expected to be done in connection with, or incidental to, the person's duties [Roncevich v Repatriation Commission (2005) HCA 40].  Hence a person can be rendering defence service even when they are not on duty.

Where claims are received for a condition (or conditions) which have developed due to use of the oral contraceptive pill, it is important to note advice received from Defence that female ADF members are not in any way expected or encouraged to undertake measures to prevent pregnancy, such as use of the oral contraceptive pill. Therefore, it is unlikely that the requirement for an injury or disease to have arisen out of, or have been attributable to, any defence service rendered while a member, would be satisfied as it could not be said that taking the oral contraceptive pill was something that was ‘required, authorised, or expected to be done in connection with, or incidental to, a person’s duties.’ For information on injuries, diseases or death resulting from treatment provided by the Commonwealth refer to CLIK 3.2.10.  

Further, even where certain activities are approved or even encouraged within the defence hierarchy, 'there is a point where activities become a purely personal pursuit'.  In Spriggins and Repatriation Commission (2007) AATA 1657 a crewmember of HMAS Tobruk was severely injured when he was struck by a vehicle while on shore leave.  The AAT found there was no doubt that the member was encouraged by officers and non-commissioned officers to go ashore.  During the course of the evening the member had spent his time at various establishments were alcohol was served.  The AAT considered that it was not part of the member's Defence Service to get drunk to the extent that he failed to maintain a proper care for his own safety.


It is also important to note, the MRCA does not contain any provisions equivalent to sections 6C or 6D of the VEA (which effectively provide 24 hour a day coverage for a person on operational service).


The following examples demonstrate when a person would be 'rendering defence service' even when they are not on duty:


Example 1:Jogging on the weekend would be 'rendering defence service' if this activity was authorised as part of a training program designed by an ADF Physical Training Instructor.


Example 2:Attending a ceremonial dinner would be 'rendering defence service' if the person's Commanding Officer encouraged him or her to attend the dinner.


Example 3:Travelling to a medical board appointment would be 'rendering defence service' if the ADF required the person to undergo the medical assessment.