The Department of Defence operates in a highly regulated environment in discharging its responsibility for the administration and business of raising, training, organisation, maintenance, equipment, management, discipline, regulation and control according to law of the Defence Forces.
The Minister and the department operate under the Ministers and Secretaries Acts, and the Public Service Management Act 1997. The Defence Act 1954 as amended, and Defence Force Regulations (DFRs) made under that Act, also govern the department's work and the work of the Defence Forces. In addition, the military authorities issue Administrative Instructions in relation to personnel and other internal matters.
The Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004 provides for the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces. Subject to the terms of the Act, the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces may investigate complaints from serving and former members of the Defence Forces. The Ombudsman submits case reports to the Minister for Defence, along with associated recommendations for his or her determination. The Ombudsman publishes an Annual Report.