Message from the Chief of the Australian Army, Lt General David Morrisson AO, delivered to members of the Army on Thursday 13th June 2013.

Excellent message, long overdue. ADF members are protected by Commonwealth laws guaranteeing them a working environment without discrimination & harassment and certainly without sexual assault or rape. That the chain of command reporting process has consistently failed to ensure timely and appropriate application of the law, has been acknowledged and recommendations have been made to address this issue. Women are not the only victims of cowardly bullies and the loss of highly skilled servicemen and women due to such behaviour or the failure to deal with perpetrators adequately, is impacting heavily on a Defence Force already having difficulties recruiting. The financial costs are also painful as procurement of much needed equipment has had to be delayed to meet the costs of recruiting and training replacements for service personnel who decide to leave and paying compensation. Long term effects on victims can seriously harm their prospects for future employment and can lead to further costs for the Commonwealth in compensation, rehabilitation and retraining costs. In a modern Defence Force, there is absolutely no place for juvenile, attention-seeking or destructive behaviour and a zero tolerance approach is essential. With 19,000 sexual assaults in the U.S. military last year, it is clear that fairly drastic action is required. Australia’s Army Chief is angry because he and others have repeated the message many times with little effect in recent years and he did not expect to have to be as stern as a school principal to make his orders crystal clear.

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