Clarification - Chief of the Defence Force interview on ABC's 730 program - 7 March 2013
8 March 2013
An edited interview with the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, that aired on the ABC's 7.30 program on 7 March 2013 and appears on the program's website under the title "Defence Force chief responds to abuse mishandling claims" does not accurately reflect the context or content of the full interview.
General Hurley's interview was pre-recorded at 11am at Defence Headquarters via a link to the presenter in Sydney. Toward the end of the 20 minute interview, which was primarily concerned with Afghanistan, General Hurley was asked four questions relating to allegations raised by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Morgan. When the program aired, General Hurley's responses were played at the start of the interview, immediately following a story relating to LTCOL Morgan. The ABC edited and broadcast the interview in such a way that the ordinary viewer would have reasonably concluded that General Hurley had seen the story and was responding directly to the allegations asserted in the story. This was not the case.
Prior to his interview General Hurley was provided with four quotes but was not given the opportunity to view the story. The quotes provided did not convey the same level of detail contained in the story or the true extent of the allegations raised in a story that ultimately ran for almost 11 minutes.
The Chief of the Defence Force and the Defence leadership remain committed to addressing abuse and achieving enduring cultural change.
In the 12 months since the Pathway to Change strategy was released, 48 of the 160 recommendations have been closed out and another 110 are under way. Most importantly Defence has established the Sexual Misconduct Protection and Response Office, which is responsible for changing the handling of sexual offences to a victim support focus. The remaining recommendations will commence as other related recommendations mature.
The Australian Human Rights Commission is expected to complete its first audit to measure Defence's progress later this month.