Chief of Army
25 January 2011
Given the recent media coverage regarding instances of unacceptable behaviour within the Australian Defence Force, I would like to take this opportunity to strongly reject any allegation of a culture of bullying in the Army. Bullying is an act of cowardice, it demonstrates a lack of professionalism and a lack of compassion. It puts our people at risk - something I will not tolerate .
The perception of a bullying culture is simply not supported when you consider what Army is currently achieving on overseas operations. If the behaviour recently described in the media was endemic to our organisation – we wouldn’t be conducting our domestic work in Queensland and Victoria with the compassion that is so clearly evident.
Throughout these deployments, our people have demonstrated courage, professionalism, and selflessness in their work everyday and are a clear example of Army’s overwhelmingly positive culture.
This behaviour embodies Army’s core values of courage, initiative and teamwork.
Eliminating unacceptable behaviour in Army has been a principal focus during my tenure as Chief of Army. These efforts are reflected in the very low reported instances of unacceptable behaviour in Army today.
In 2010 there were 150 reports of unacceptable behaviour across the entire Australian Defence Force. In an organisation of more than 50 000 regular soldiers, sailors and airmen this equates to less than 0.01 percent of the current workforce.
All Army personnel undertake mandatory annual training on what constitutes unacceptable behaviour; including their obligations to report any witnessed occurrences. It is also the responsibility of the chain of command to act on all reports of such behaviour.
In addition to the chain of command, there are other avenues available where unacceptable behaviour can be reported. These include:
- The Army Fair Go Hotline,
- The Defence Whistle Blowers Scheme,
- The Inspector General ADF,
- And the Defence Equity Advice Line.
It is disappointing that the alleged behaviour reported recently in the media was not referred to the chain of command or any other avenue, allowing for appropriate investigation. However, we are actively looking into the allegations raised by the Today Tonight program of 24 January 2011.