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25.1.3 What is 'reasonable disciplinary action'?


The Concise Oxford Dictionary includes the following relevant definitions:

disciplinary ad of, promoting, or enforcing discipline.

discipline n. 1a control or order exercised over people or animals, esp. children, prisoners, military personnel, church members, etc.1b the system of rules used to maintain this control 4 punishment.

action n. 1 the fact or process of doing or acting.

Case law relating to 'reasonable disciplinary action' has evolved on the basis of mainly civilian cases and applies an understanding of the term current in a relatively open and liberal civil society. As a result this exclusion is applied in a narrower manner than the above dictionary definition might indicate.

Consequently, Delegates are reminded that 'reasonable disciplinary action' may have a much wider meaning within the ADF, where a more hierarchical system of control is in place, and where individual behaviour is subject to a greater degree of control.

Nevertheless, the ADF has clear processes under the Defence Force Discipline Act for imposing and maintaining order, and in the final analysis the Delegate should be guided by these parameters rather than general notions about the disciplinary culture of the ADF.