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Judge Advocates General


Commodore the Hon Justice J.T. Rush, RFD, RANR.

Commodore Rush was admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1978. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1992. Commodore Rush, in his civilian practice, specialised in trial and appellate advocacy in all Australian jurisdictions. Prior to his appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2013 he was Senior Counsel assisting the Royal Commission established to investigate the consequences of the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009 in which 173 people died; in 2011 he was appointed by the Victorian Government to conduct an Inquiry into the command, management and function of the senior structure of Victoria Police.

Commodore Rush was a member of the Victorian Bar Council from 1991 to 2003 serving as Chairman in 2002 to 2003. He was a member of the Law Council of Australia from 1999 to 2003.

In February 1981, Commodore Rush was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve. Since that time he has appeared in numerous courts-marital, boards of inquiry and CDF inquiries.

During 2005 and 2006 Commodore Rush served as the Counsel for families and next of kin in the RAN Board of Inquiry into the 2005 crash of an RAN Sea King helicopter in Indonesia that killed nine Defence Force personnel. He also served as Counsel Assisting the Chief of Defence Force Inquiry into the circumstances of the loss of the pilot and an SAS soldier as a consequence of a Black Hawk helicopter crash on HMAS Kanimbla, and as Counsel Assisting the Chief of Defence Force Inquiry into the loss of HMAS Sydney II in 1941.

Between 2012 and early 2013, Commodore Rush served as head of the Victorian Navy Reserve Legal panel.

Commodore Rush received a Chief of Navy commendation for exceptional service to the Navy in 2013. He was appointed as acting Deputy Judge Advocate General – Navy with effect 30 July 2014.

That appointment was confirmed on 14 May 2015.

DJAG - Army

Brigadier His Honour Judge SG Durward, SC

Born in New Zealand, Brigadier Durward migrated to Australia in 1970.

Brigadier Durward practised as a Crown Prosecutor in Queensland from 1976 to 1986 and as a Barrister at the Independent Bar in Queensland from 1986 to 2006. He was appointed Senior Counsel in 1999. In 2006 he became a Judge of the District Court of Queensland, the Children’s Court of Queensland and the Planning and Environment Court of Queensland.

His Honour joined the Army Reserve in 1988 and has been a Reserve Army Legal Officer in the Australian Defence Force Legal Service since that time, in various Staff Officer and other roles. He was a Judge Advocate Reviewing Officer from 2000 to 2005. From 2005 to 2011 he was the Panel Leader North Queensland (Army) where his role was mentoring and training the ADF legal panel in North Queensland. His Honour returned to Judge Advocate Reviewing Officer duties from 2011 to 2014. Brigadier Durward has appeared as a Counsel in a number of Boards of Inquiry. He deployed to the Middle East and Central Asia as the Inquiry Officer into combat deaths and serious injury in respect of two separate incidents in 2007.

Throughout his career in Townsville he has been actively involved with various community groups, including the Townsville Area Street Kids Association, a Director of the NQ Military Museum, Lions Clubs, Scout groups, the Townsville Grammar School Old Boys' Rugby Club and Ronald McDonald House. His Honour was Chairman of the Northern Regional Health Authority from 1991 to 1995 and Chairman of the Townsville Hospital Foundation from 1991 to 2013. He has been the Chairman of the Townsville Grammar School Board of Trustees since 1997 and was the inaugural Chairman of The Grammar Schools of Queensland Association from 2001 to 2003.

Brigadier Durward was appointed Deputy Judge Advocate General – Army with effect 10 March 2014.

DJAG - Air Force

Air Commodore the Hon Judge MJF Burnett.

Air Commodore Burnett was born in Toowoomba in 1958. He graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Economics degree in 1978 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1981. He subsequently was awarded a Masters of Laws from Bond University in 1991 and a Master of Business Administration from the Queensland University of Technology in 1994. He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 2009.

In 1980 he commenced articles of clerkship and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1982. In 1984 he was called to the Queensland Bar and commenced practice that year. He practised at the Bar from Brisbane until appointed a Judge of the Federal Circuit Court in 2006 where he presided principally in the areas of industrial, bankruptcy and administrative law. Air Commodore Burnett was subsequently appointed as a judge of the District Court of Queensland in late 2014. During his time in practice he also held appointments as a Member of the Queensland Building Tribunal and was a mediator and graded arbitrator with the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia.

He was first commissioned into the Australian Army Reserve in 1985 and was appointed a legal officer attached to the 1st Military Division. In 1991 he transferred to the RAAF Specialist Reserve taking up appointment as a legal officer.

He had extensive experience in the conduct of military disciplinary proceedings as both a prosecutor and defending officer before summary authorities, Defence Force Magistrates and Courts Martials in all three services. In 1997 he was appointed a Judge Advocate and Defence Force Magistrate. He presided over numerous defence discipline proceedings in his role as Judge Advocate and/or Defence Force Magistrate from 1997 until his appointment expired in 2007 upon the establishment of the now defunct Australian Military court.

In addition to involvement in discipline proceedings he had extensive experience in numerous defence administrative inquiries, investigations and boards of inquiry in the role of inquiry officer and counsel assisting.

He was first appointed as Deputy Judge Advocate General – Air Force on 11 March 2010 and promoted to Air Commodore on the same day.

His extra curricular interests include aviation (private pilot); rugby football; snow skiing; cycling; and the Royal Flying Doctor Service of which he is a director.

He is married with four children.