Statement from the Chief of the Defence Force
13 June 2013
Three members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have been suspended from duty pending the outcome of investigations into the misuse of the Defence computer network. It is alleged these men exchanged emails and other material that degrades others and refers to illicit drugs. Additionally, action has been initiated today to consider the suspension of a number of other ADF members who appear to be closely involved in these activities.
The allegations are concerning. I am disturbed by the nature of the evidence collected and angered by the actions of those who are associated with these activities. Their behaviour does not accord with the Australian Defence Force's values and I fully support the Chief of Army's decisions to date.
While the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service and NSW Police continue to work together in their respective investigations, our primary concern is for the welfare of those who are the victims of this activity. Defence continues to provide them with support and assistance.
Our actions today in publicly discussing these allegations and announcing the decision to suspend these members should send a very clear message to all Defence personnel; there is no place for illegal, offensive or discriminatory behaviour in the Australian Defence Force. It should also demonstrate to the Australian community that I and the Service Chiefs are serious about addressing these issues and we will take action.
The behaviour of these individuals reflects poorly on all of us. As members of the Australian Defence Force we all have a duty to protect our colleagues. We must also accept that we all have a role to play in preventing inappropriate or harmful behaviour.
These allegations will not weaken our resolve to pursue the cultural reform set out in the Pathway to Change. I am serious about eliminating unacceptable behaviour from our organisation and I remain resolutely committed to reforming our culture.
The modern ADF must embrace its diversity. Every person in the Australian Defence Force deserves the right to serve without any kind of physical, mental and sexual abuse and I will defend their right to do so in a fair, just and inclusive workplace.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999